Save to Retire: America Saves Week

Free Webinar: Wednesday, Feb. 23rd (Time TBD)

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Too few people have a plan for their retirement savings. That’s why day 3 of America Saves Week this year is about saving for retirement.

It’s important not to assume you’ve got all the time in the world to think about retirement. No matter how far off your golden years are, the time to start preparing for them is now.

You need to start as soon as you can. In fact, the earlier you start to save for retirement, the easier it gets, since you won’t have to set aside as much to reach the same goals.

Understand your needs

One of the important things too few people consider is how much they’ll really need in retirement. People’s habits don’t change; however much you spend now is what you’re likely to spend after you retire. That’s why you have to assess your lifestyle and make sure you’re saving enough.

Don’t forget that costs will go up between now and retirement. Assume 2% inflation, meaning the dollars you spend today on things like food won’t cover those expenses years from now.

Retirement planning is such a big topic that an entire industry exists to support it. If you don’t already work with a financial planner to prepare for the future, it might be worth your while to find a good one and start. Begin with your employer—if they have a 401(k) plan, then they likely have someone they can refer you to in order to discuss your retirement plan.

Start right now

Even if you haven’t talked to a financial planner or calculated how much you need to live during retirement, you should make some rough estimates today and get started.

Use ballpark figures to come up with an initial retirement goal, then use our online resources and calculators to determine how much you need to save to reach that goal.

As you learn more and figure out your complete needs, you can adjust the amount you save upward. But don’t delay! Any amount of retirement savings is a good thing, and the sooner you start, the better.

Plan for homeownership

One factor we stress is homeownership as part of a retirement plan. The goal is to pay off your mortgage in time for retirement, so you no longer have to come up with a house payment every month. This makes living on a fixed income in retirement much more manageable for people.

A recent study found that single retirees spend nearly 50% of their income on housing, and retired married couples spend 36% of their income on housing expenses. That’s a significant burden that can be relieved if you enter into retirement with a paid-off mortgage.

Owning a home also gives you access to other kinds of income streams in retirement, like a reverse mortgage. Whatever your retirement plan is, we think homeownership should be a part of it.

Get professional help

Figuring out your retirement needs should start with a comprehensive budget. Learn exactly what you are spending today, and where. Then you can work to create good spending habits that will carry you into the future.

A free nonprofit debt coach can help you assess your monthly budget and create an action plan to be debt-free and ready to save enough for retirement.

Even if thinking about retirement seems overwhelming now, take the pledge to save this year during America Saves Week and get started by saving something. Any amount you can save will be a great start!

America Saves Week

If you missed it, here’s a recap of America Saves Week so far:

So far, we’ve talked about how to Save Automatically and how to Save for the Unexpected. But you don’t want to miss today’s session at 10am (PST):

Wednesday, February 23rd | Save to Retire: America Saves Week

  • Start saving for the future by learning the basics first. Understand what your priorities should be when you tackle financial planning and avoid sales pressure from investment advisers.
  • Duration: 1hr
  • Sign up for this webinar (coming soon)

If you can make it, we’d love to help you reach your savings goals. Tomorrow at 10am (PST), we’ll be hosting another free webinar to teach you how to Save by Reducing Debt:

Thursday, February 24th | Save by Reducing Debt: America Saves Week

  • This workshop will help you take the first steps on your journey to financial freedom. Learn how to pay off debt with a self- managed plan, or other options with your creditors plan or a Debt Management Plan.
  • Duration: 1hr
  • Sign up for this webinar (coming soon)
Speak to our certified Financial Coaches to review all of your options and discuss best strategies for getting out of debt.Speak to our certified Financial Coaches to review all of your options and discuss best strategies for getting out of debt.

About The Author

Melinda Opperman is an exceptional educator who lives and breathes the creation and implementation of innovative ways to motivate and educate community members and students about financial literacy. Melinda joined in 2003 and has over two decades of experience in the industry.