An astounding one-third of all Americans haven’t saved a dime for retirement, yet many experts agree that striking up your savings in your 20s is ideal for building a substantial nest egg for the future. It’s difficult to see into the future to estimate how much you’ll need to have available for when you retire, but it’s more important than ever to start getting some money tucked away, so you’ll have less to worry about when the time comes.
How Much Do You Need for Retirement?
You know you’ll need money for retirement, but how much? A lot more goes into your future financial needs than you may think. Social Security retirement checks aren’t meant to make up for the full income you earned from a job, but rather, only about 40% of your previous income. Couple that lower paycheck with increased healthcare costs, the possibility of moving into a care home and life insurance premiums that tend to increase as you age, and you may find yourself struggling to make ends meet.
Although many other costs of living decrease during retirement as children move out of the home and many seniors conquer their debts, you’ll likely find that your Social Security check isn’t enough to cover your monthly expenses. The average retired American spends about $3,700 per month on living expenses, healthcare, and entertainment. According to CNN Money, you should consider saving enough money that, when combined with social security, will give you about 70% of your pre-retirement income each year.
Ensuring a Secure Financial Future Now
Sticking to a budget now can be one of the most important ways to secure your financial future. For expenses that stay the same each month, like rent or a car payment, figure them into your monthly budget first. For variable costs, use the average of the past year’s total, or as many months as possible if you don’t have a full year yet, to arrive at a monthly number. With your leftover income, set up an automatic savings plan to take out as much as you can comfortably part with each month.
Be sure also to take advantage of your employer’s retirement plan, if it has one. Many companies that offer a 401(k) will contribute a certain amount to your plan in addition to what you contribute, and some may even match every cent you save. Compound interest accrues over time for added savings, and automatic contributions can make it a simple and painless process.