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Retirement education

Retirement is usually not one of the first things that comes to mind when thinking about your career, but it’s never too early to start taking control of your retirement plans. Whatever your individual retirement goals are, investing early and will often take the worry away when it comes to building yourself the financial cushion you desire.

Understanding the importance of saving for retirement:

Making saving a habit:
When you start saving early on in your career, it sets you up for making it a lifelong habit. This may help improve the chances of you reaching retirement -- with the ability to live more comfortably. Utilizing advantages such as dollar cost averaging can go a long way in growing your income.

What are your financial goals:
It’s important to understand your financial goals early, so you can prioritize and set yourself up for success in the future. Once you outline your goals, then you will be ready to make decisions about how to save and invest. In order to achieve these goals, there are different types of investments to consider:

  • Equities - stocks and stock funds
  • Fixed income investments - bonds, bond funds and guaranteed insurance products like fixed annuities
  • Cash equivalents - bank savings accounts, short-term certificates of deposit, U.S. Treasury bills and money market funds
Be sure to choose a mix of investments based on your goals, time horizon for achieving them, level of return you'd like to try to get and your tolerance for risk.

Minimizing risk:
Understanding that just like any other investment opportunity, there will be a level of risk associated with any retirement goals. Risk can be minimized throughout your career by rebalancing and adjusting your investments over time to reflect your retirement goals.

Understanding diversification:
You’ve heard it a million times, but what does diversification really mean? Well, it all has to do with managing risk. When you invest diversely, you protect yourself by allocating investments across various categories. When you diversify, you’re avoiding placing all your eggs in one basket, which allows you to feel more secure even when handling market volatility.

Making sure you have enough money throughout your retirement:
Starting your plan early can help you avoid this situation entirely. A long-term plan will help calculate all the factors needed in order to help you safely withdraw income from your portfolio.

Advantages of saving and investing:

Create your nest egg:
Contributing to your nest egg early can help you invest for a specific purpose. Whether that be saving to buy a home, paying for education or retirement, your nest egg can help you through any unexpected financial difficulty.

Emergency fund:
No one can predict the future, not even financial professionals. That’s why creating an emergency fund to fall back on when difficult times strike, is immensely important. Having an emergency fund can keep you on the right track regarding your financial future.

Taking advantage of compounded interest:
Make your money work for you by utilizing compound interest early. Compound interest is when you earn interest on your investment. Meaning, the more you start saving, the more likely it is your money will grow over time. Make your money work for you.
Advantages of saving and investing chart

Wanting to see active retirement planning in action? Take a look at Jonathan!

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What does successful financial planning mean to you?
“Successful financial planning is freedom; it gives you the ability to have choices. I want to one day open my own business, and I also want to be a homeowner, but before I do that, I’m looking to pay off my student loans. With successful financial planning, I’ll be able to accomplish anything I put my mind to.”

How are you realizing your financial goals?
“My two current financial goals right now would be to pay off student loan debt, as well as to open my own business. I save [at least] 25% of my check every month, and try to live off of $200 a month by choice. Some of my friends are like, ‘I can’t believe it…what are you doing’. But, at 25 years old, you have to get it together now, because if you wait any longer, it could become a really bad habit.”

Just starting to invest in your retirement plan? Here are some things to consder moving forward:

Take action now
Even though spending money is easier than saving money, "future" you will be grateful you started now. In fact, the earlier you start saving, the greater the chance of turning those investments into a sizable retirement nest egg.

Take advantage of your employers 401(k)
Many employees unfortunately are unaware of their companies 401(k) offerings. If your eligible, sign up and actively contributes to your employer plan.

Take into consideration how much you’ll need in retirement
Many people are unaware of how much money they will need once they enter retirement. It will vary from person to person, as there’s no magic number out there. Working on a retirement plan can help better prepare you for what that number might be.

Take a look at enrolling in a target date fund
A target date fund will allow you to “set it and forget it.” This type of fund is actively managed depending on your individual retirement goals. Over time, the fund gradually shifts from more aggressive investments in your working years to more conservative invetsments as you near retirement.

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