Whether you are just entering the workforce or nearing retirement age, planning for the future is critical. ~ R. Lewis

To put it mildly I was a bit surprised. Not entirely shocked but darn close to it. What would prompt this? The young adult sitting on the other side of my office, whose life was, to put it politely, mere moments from a crash landing less than 4 months ago prompted this. Once my jaw got off the ground (figuratively, not literally!) and my voice started working again (literally) I started to ask what was going on. As I have come to expect of this young person, there was much more thought behind this statement than one might expect at first encounter.

A vast majority of young adults don’t even pick up their heads long enough to realize most of them will live long and hopefully healthy lives; and they may even want to retire at some point! According to research done by the Pew Research Center the younger and less educated you are the more likely you are to be concerned about retirement. Got that? A variation on the “young and naive” theory. The older we get, the more education we get, the more concerned we are. The magic mix to get statements of confidence is to be between the ages of 35 and 50, have a college degree and be making an income over $100,000. Now, I don’t know about you, but that sure sounds good. A bit tough to pull off depending on what you do for a living or how many kids you have. When you’re 19 or 20 it sure is difficult to think about finishing college, getting a secure career and saving money!

A few steps to take NOW and it is one of my few promises ~ you won’t regret it when you get to retirement.

Save money. Save consistently. Save even a little bit but do it consistently. Open an IRA or 401(k) but don’t put it under your bed because you want your little bit of money to be touched by the magic of compounding interest. There will not be a time when it’s easy or when there aren’t any other bills but if you just do it now, starting off with whatever, you can will get you in the habit.

Pay yourself ~ see the paragraph above ~ and pay your student loans off without fail. These two steps will get you further than you can imagine right now.

Learn the basics of investing. Like the young person above, the more you know the more power you have. Want to know what they are up to now, less than 4 months after that conversation? Saving money from their job. Saving a lot of it in a retirement fund they won’t be able to touch until they are much, much older. Impressive. If they can do it, so can you!

Take advantage of every financial opportunity your employer offers, including matching programs into your retirement savings. It’s like leaving money on the table if you don’t.

Don’t panic. In the course of your lifetime your financial portfolio (again, learn what that means if you don’t know!) will go up and down. There will be awful days when you turn on the radio or your phone flashes an alert that the stock market is crashing ~ worldwide. Don’t panic! You have time on your side and time equals recovery. Moving, touching or even thinking about touching your retirement funds on those days is just plain crazy. Do. Not. Do. It. Got it?

Can’t wait to see what you come up with for your retirement savings!

Wishing you the best for your week!

~ Lisa