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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money

Who Me? Ready to Save for Retirement?

My husband and I just had our 28 year anniversary; you can calculate that we're getting older! But do I feel like retirement is around the corner? No, it still seems like an abstract thought that is likely to happen someday but I can't really imagine it happening to me. So when will it feel like the right time to save for retirement?

Today we spent time planning some new landscaping for our backyard. It made me think about another time we did a major landscaping project. As graduate students we decided to cover our backyard with rock -- this is something people do in the Arizona desert. We invited several friends to help move many cubic yards of rock and paid them with a dinner. That was cheap labor! Did we feel like it was the right time to save for retirement when we were in college? No.

The next few years included the birth of our three sons. Time flew by with little sleep but many happy moments. As young parents, did that feel like the right time to save for retirement? No.

When you're in your twenty and thirties it seems like you have forever until you'll be old enough to think about retirement. It's easy to think that someday it'll feel like the right time to save for retirement. Now as I get older with two kids in college and one more to start soon, does it feel like the right time to save for retirement? Do you need to ask with three kids soon to be in college at the same time? No.

Clearly I'm not the only one who hasn't felt like it was the right time to save for retirement. According to the latest EBRI Retirement Confidence Survey 54% of workers report less than $25,000 in total savings and investments (excluding their home and defined benefit plans). Many people will live 20 to 30 years, or more, after retirement. Twenty-five thousand dollars will not provide a financially secure retirement.

The moral of this story is that you can't wait until the time feels right to save for retirement. You need to save for retirement all of your life. By the time I feel like it's the "right time," I'll be out of time to save.

The only way I know to be successful at saving for retirement is to start doing it when you're young -- too young to even be able to imagine what you will be like when you retire. Start small but save every month. If you have the option through your employer, put your savings on automatic through payroll deductions. Otherwise, choose a retirement savings option and fund it regularly. I have used these saving tips myself, and they have worked for me.

A little bit saved each week will add up significantly. Can you save $20 a week? In a year, you'd have over $1,000. Would you like a million dollars when you retire? Visit the Plan Well, Retire Well website to calculate how much you need to save monthly to be a millionaire. Once you've logged into the website, click on Save for Retirement to go to the calculator. The Plan Well, Retire Well website also has information about retirement saving plan options for you.

Saving money regularly, before you feel like it's the right time to save, will lead you towards a financially secure retirement. Now is the time to start saving.

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