How to Treat Your Retirement Planning Like Spring Break
Every year, the activity most college students look forward to is spring break. It’s the halfway point from Christmas to summer vacation and, let’s be honest, it’s a week of freedom from exams, boring lectures, and responsibility.
Depending on how excited you are about your spring break, planning can start as early as October – finding available houses or condos, coordinating travel and learning about the local hot spots. Hopefully around that same time, the savings start, as well. Each year, college students get to spend a week away from their parents, surrounded by their closest friends on a beach – or some other Instagram-worthy destination. That’s something worth saving up a bit of extra spare change.
Unfortunately, once college has ended and you are off in the real world, spring break becomes a thing of the past. A week-long vacation where you can forget about your responsibilities and sit on a beach sipping an adult beverage is no longer a given each March.
But this year, when the weather began to warm up, I started thinking about those days and how I can relax from work and other daily stresses, and I asked…
WHY CAN’T THAT BE MY RETIREMENT?
Trick is, like spring break, retirement – and the saving for it – requires planning and the need to start saving early.
Now, I can already hear your thoughts: “I have debt I need to pay off,” or, “I’m only in my 20s, why do I need to start planning for retirement?” Trust me, I get it. At 21 years old (almost 22!) and finishing up my Master’s degree, I feel like I have a lot of other ways to spend my money than putting it towards my retirement. But I’ve learned that the longer my money has to grow, the more it can do for me in the future. That’s the power of compounding interest.
So I try to put away whatever I can now, even if it doesn’t always feel like much. I know that I’m working towards putting more away once my life has more constants in it. (Plus, I’ve learned a little about The Power of Peanut Butter since starting work at blooom.)
START SAVING WITH YOUR 401k
For me, the easiest decision about how to start saving for my financial future was putting money into my 401k at work.
And this should be an automatic decision for anyone starting a new job.
You don’t have to put away a lot at the beginning, but at least start with maxing out your company match so you are taking full advantage of any free money on the table. From there, contribute what you are comfortable with and then keep raising your contributions when you feel like you have the stability to do so.
Remember, if you’re forty years from retirement, even a little now can go a long way towards your future (extended) spring break!
The information is provided for discussion purposes only and should not be considered as investment advice.