It’s never too early to start planning for retirement, and no matter how old you are, there are steps you can take now to prepare your finances for the kind of retirement you’d like to have.
In your 20s and 30s
If you’re in your 20s and 30s, a lot can change between now and your retirement years. In many cases it’s too early to work with a financial advisor on putting together a formal retirement plan. However, there are things you can and should be doing now, including:
- Having an emergency fund of three to six months’ worth of living expenses set aside in a separate bank account.
- Grabbing any employer contributions to your 401(k) plan if that’s offered and you’re eligible. You should be saving at least enough to take advantage of this “free” money, and the earlier you start investing, the better. Compound interest allows you to earn on both your original principal and on the interest that adds up over time.
- Making sure you have adequate life insurance and disability insurance in place, particularly if you are starting a family. This helps take risks off the table that have the possibility of blowing up your long-term finances.
- Developing good investing habits with a well-diversified, long-term portfolio of stocks, bonds and hard assets like real estate and commodities. Avoid trying to time the market or chase hot stocks or investment products.