Several weeks ago I did a post on what you should have in place before you turn 30. In this post I am going to share some of the reasons why it’s so hard to save money and even harder to plan for your retirement. Putting things on paper is easy, actually putting the plan you design in effect is a different story.
Before we can put together a plan we need to know what the problems actually are and tackle each one and find out how to over come the problem and how to put a plan in place even if you think you don’t have enough money. It’s better to start very small than to not start planning for your future at all.
Here Are a Few of the Problems
While young American adults might actually spend less than previous generations, impulse purchases and a major shift away from pension plans has made saving for retirement a challenge.
- The average employee waits two years to sign up for a 401(k), costing them $20,000 in savings. But experts think it is more critical than ever for young adults to start thinking about retirement planning as early as possible.
- millennial’s today are starting first jobs later and they have a higher debt burden than older generations. A college education would cost on average cost $500 dollars per year tuition in 1959 check out this report by Penn State. Today it costs much more to attend college here is a report from Penn State on the average cost of tuition from 2010 to the present.
- Having too many choices cause people to delay decisions.
- Lack of experience in financial matters will cause people to put off making decisions about their retirement savings.
- Reaping the benefits of compound interest becomes harder as you age. A 20-year-old only needs to save an estimated 5 percent of his/her annual income to reach a retirement goal by the age of 65, where a 30-year-old need to save closer to 10 percent and 50-year-olds who have not started to save should put away closer to half of their income to catch up.
What Has Made Planning for Retirement So Hard
According to the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, between 1985 and 2012, companies dissolved more than 80,000 retirement plans across US companies and now 401(k) plans are the norm for most employers that offer compensation for retirement.
There are very few companies now that will offer company pension plans. So planning for retirement is left to each employee to decide how and when they start to save for their retirement. Due to the shift away from pensions, younger generations need to learn how to make their money last up to 40 years after retirement.
millennial’s aren’t able to get much advice from their parents because most of their parents had pension plans that were sponsored by their employer and they aren’t able to help their children navigate the maze of information about saving for retirement.
A tendency toward instant gratification is a real psychological obstacle to saving for retirement. Many millennial’s struggle with thinking in the moment, some grew up with parents that could afford to make impulse purchases, and parents that had a higher wage than most millennial’s now. Wages have risen, but so has inflation which cuts into the increase in earnings.
Single millennial’s are having a harder time making ends meet than their parents ever did. With high cost of rent and high cost of home ownership, higher costs of insurances like health and car insurance, the very high cost of a college education and with the student loans with high interest rates at 6 % or higher, a single millennial’s budget is strained to the point they can’t afford to save for their retirement, leaving them in a very vulnerable place.
What Can You Do Right Now, This Week?
Start Contributing to your Companies Retirement Plan
Check with your company and start putting money into the 401 (k) plan at your company. If they match what you put into your plan, try to put as much as you can into it. When they contribute, it adds more to what you put in every pay check. Talk with the plan representative about how much to start putting into your retirement plan. The key is to start. There is no time like now to get started.
Start a Budget
How do you juggle your bills and still plan for your future? You want to save for your future but with bills that take most of your money every paycheck how do you manage to actually save for the future? Here is a great budget planner and financial goals tracker you can use to keep your finances on track. I also shared a lot of really good books and resources in the same blog post. If you didn’t have a chance to read it check it out now, 10 Personal finance moves to make before 30.
Too many people get overwhelmed with their finances and then they don’t do anything at all to save money. This is the wrong thing to do! If you can only put $5 into a savings account every pay check do it. Set that $5 up to automatically go into your savings as soon as your check goes into the bank.
Your financial to do list may be very long. If it is, put things into various categories based on when the goal needs to be accomplished. Instead of worrying over everything, place each goal into a category based on whether it’s a short-term goal, a medium-range goal or a long-term goal. Here are a few examples of goals. A short-term goal might be, boosting your credit score in 6-12 months. A medium term goal could be saving for 3 or 4 years for the down payment on a new home. A long-term goal could be saving for your children’s college education.
Take Small Steps Towards Each Goal
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that balancing current and future obligations is an “either or” proposition. You should get into the mindset of knowing that you must do both handle existing bills and tackle future planning simultaneously.
Break everything down into chunks and take small steps, or even micro-steps, toward reaching each goal. Saving $5 each paycheck is better than not saving anything at all. Here is a break down of just saving $5 each paycheck in a year.
- $5 per week: 52 pay checks = $260 in one year
- $5 Paid every other week: 26 pay checks = $130
- $5 paid twice a month: 24 pay checks = $120
It doesn’t look like much but when you save $5 a week for 2 years, 5 years, 10 years it looks like this. $5 is the cost of one coffee at Starbucks. Just giving up one coffee a week can put money into your savings that looks like this.
- 52 pay checks: 2 years = $520
- 26 pay checks: 2 years = $260
- 24 pay checks: 2 years = $240
Here is what it looks like in 5 years
- 52 pay checks: 5 years = $1,300
- 26 pay checks: 5 years = $650
- 24 pay checks: 5 years = $600
Here is what it looks like in 10 years
- 52 pay checks: 10 years = $2,600
- 26 pay checks: 10 years = $1,300
- 24 pay checks: 10 years = $1,200
It doesn’t look like much at first but over time it adds up. The point is to take action and work toward the goal. Don’t simply say, “that’s impossible” because the numbers seem too large. No financial goal is impossible if you break it down and are willing to pursue it even in small steps. It is better to do small steps at first than to not do anything at all.
Look for ways to go to College for free or nearly free
The high cost of higher education leaves millennial’s already in the red with the high cost of college many are starting their career with $30,000 to $200,000 in college loans. It depends on the field of study that they choose how much student debt they incur. There are a lot of ways that you can cut the high cost of higher education. In this post “Want to go to college for free or nearly free?” I address ways you can further your education for free or nearly free with online courses from the top colleges and universities where you earn certifications in the very same courses you would spend thousands of dollars on if you went to top colleges and universities.
If you are planning on going into the medical field most hospitals offer programs for you to go to college where the hospital will pay for your education in return for you fulfilling a term or 3 to 5 years of employment with the hospital after you graduate. You should check with your employer, now a lot of employers offer tuition assistance in exchange for work after you graduate. Some offer tuition assistance while you work and go to school.
How To Find Scholarships Online
” Navigating the Scholarship scene, going to college on scholarships” I will give you valuable information you can use to find, apply and get scholarships in your field of study. You can actually find enough scholarships to pay for all four years of your college it just takes a little work on your part.
How To Find Free Courses Online
If you want to find classes online here is a post I did to help you find classes that will give you certifications in the course work that employers like to see from potential employees. “ Want To Go To College? How To Obtain Higher Education For Free Or Nearly Free Using Online Learning”
Find an Accountability Partner
A relative or close friends might serve as accountability partner. As long as they have your best interests at heart and can be honest with you about when you’re not sticking to your goals.
You can even check with your local bank and they can give you guidance in financial matters some banks now offer budgeting classes for their patrons or they can refer you to someone who they trust to give you good information and guidance.
Just be careful about taking certain advice such as investment tips or insurance recommendations from family members or friends who don’t have expertise in those areas.
You can look for a financial advisor. They could give you expert financial advice, create an overall financial plan for you or simply point out money-management areas that you’ve overlooked. They do charge for their services, so be sure to ask them about their fees.
Once you realize that bills are a part of life and that they will never go away, you can use the information above to set financial goals, set goals for your schooling, set goals on learning how to paying your bills on time and also saving for your future retirement and saving for future purchases.