I can’t wait for the day I can retire. I want to be an old man who sits on his porch all day and waves at his neighbors. Think of the whole guy from Up, just not as cranky or heartbroken. (I want to be the first to die in my future relationship. I don’t think I could handle going out second.) However, I must start planning if I want to retire and enjoy my old age. You can thank me later for all these tips for planning your retirement when you’re old and living your best life.
So often, we hear how we need to save for retirement, but what does that even mean? Most financially stable adults should have a savings account and an emergency fund. Your savings might be for your personal goals, but your emergency savings is the money you would use if you lose your job or need emergency surgery. And while that is all great, it’s not saving for retirement. Look into whether or not your job offers a 401(k) plan and see if they match your savings up to a certain percentage. If they don’t offer a 401(k), then check out setting up a Roth IRA. (If you don’t know how to set one up, here is a list of some of the best Roth IRA accounts.)
What’s great about a 401(k) or a Roth IRA is that you can automatically withhold money from your paycheck to go into them. You don’t have to worry about doing anything other than setting it all up. Once that’s done, you just sit back and let the investment people work their magic. And don’t feel like you need to set aside a couple hundred every paycheck. Instead, save what you can when you can. $20 every paycheck over the course of a few years is still better than $0.
High Yield Saving Accounts
Setting up a high-yield savings account is less about retirement and more just a good idea. Did you know your money makes you money if you let it sit in your regular old savings account? It’s not much return, but it’s something. Wells Fargo’s savings account interest rate is 0.15%, which means if you had $1000 and only saved $10 a month in a year, you would gain $1.58 from interest. How nice, you can buy a whole can of Arizona Tea.
With a high-yield savings account, the interest is higher. It can be up to ten times higher, depending on where your account is. Most high-yield savings accounts are from online-only banks or credit unions. They tend to have lower operating costs than big banks, which means they can use their savings to offer higher interest rates. For example, PNC Bank offers 4.3% on their savings account. Using the same numbers from my last example, your end-of-year money earned from interest would be $45.35. Again, not the most money, but it’s better than a dollar and change.
If you aren’t sure how to invest your money or are too scared to do it, start budgeting and saving in a high-yield savings account. Yes, there are better options for retirement saving out there, but you should build an emergency fund first, which is a great option. Financial stability comes from financial literacy. It can be overwhelming at times, so take baby steps and learn at your own pace.
Start Sooner Rather Than Later
It sounds so obvious, and most of us don’t listen to it, but starting to save money sooner rather than later is always the move. I don’t know about you, but the biggest obstacle for me to save money (outside of my impulse purchases) is going out and doing research. Do I want to sit down and set up a Roth IRA or find the best high-yield savings account in my area during my limited downtime? Not, but deep down, I know that if I set aside an hour to do all this, my future finances will be all the more secure. But man, do I hate being responsible when I don’t have to on my days off. I just want to sleep, play video games, and go to the dog park. Stressing over money is never fun.
Do yourself the biggest favor and schedule time to set some of this stuff up. Put it in your calendar, make an alarm on your phone, write it on a sticky note, or whatever system works best for you, and in the wise words of Nike, “Just Do It.”