An Unconventional Guide to Paying for College

Planning for Retirement at Age 26

early retirement

Last week my company hosted their annual benefits fair. You get to walk around and get freebies from all of the vendors trying to get you to sign up for their products.

Rather than trying to get free t-shirts and blood pressure checks that I did not need, I made a beeline for the benefits and retirement counselor.

We started talking and, I began asking him some very specific questions about retirement. He gave me some generic responses but was not very engaged in explaining things for me.

As we talked, I began to realize that he was not taking me seriously, because he did not think I was serious about retirement. I guess I really cannot blame him, as most people my age (26) don’t really care about their retirement. Nobody cares about something that is 35+ years away right?

Well, I for one very much care about my retirement. I feel blessed that I care about something as important as retirement at such a young age, and I am going to do everything I can to ensure my retirement is secure.

Compound Interest = Amazing

A long time horizon is one of the best assetys you have as a young person planning for your retirement. If you are in your early 20′s you likely have around 40 years to sock away money and enjoy the amazing benefits of compound interest.

You don’t need to stress out over the stock market because you know that the historical average is around 10% per year.

You won’t need to sock away massive quantities of money each money because you will let compound interest make up the difference for you.

If you don’t believe me, check out the best retirement calculator I have ever run across, at Bankrate.

Your Friends Will Think You Are Crazy

When you tell your friends that you have decided to put money into your Roth IRA instead of going on a ski trip, they will likely think you are crazy. It’s ok.

Dave Ramsey has one of the best quotes on the subject: 

“If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else” – Dave Ramsey

Creating a lifestyle where you celebrate conscious spending, and intelligent saving for your future, maybe you will convince a few of your friends to hop on your bandwagon and save for their retirements.

You can be the trendsetter in your circle of friends. I guarantee you that they will all thank you 40 years from now if they stick with it!

Making Smart Decisions

Planning for retirement at a young age won’t do you any good if you still make dumb choices.

If your parents are well versed on the subject, then talk to them. If you have a friend who is a financial advisor, or who is trying to become a financial advisor, then run your ideas by them.

Talk with the retirement counselor at your job. If you convince them that you are sincere, they will be happy to sit down with you and walk you through a few scenarios.

Knowledge is the key.

You need to research, learn, and then implement what you have learned.

If you do, then you will be well on your way to a secure and prosperous retirement.

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4 Comments

  1. That blows me away that a financial adviser wouldn’t take you seriously because you’re under 30. Maybe I just take that a little more personally since I’m also 26.

    Like you mentioned, investing early makes a huge difference. I have less than $30k in my 401(k) right now. Even if I never invested another dollar, I would have over half a million bucks when I retire.
    Jeremy @ Personal Finance Whiz recently posted..Are Annuities A Good Investment?My Profile

    • @Jeremy – It blew me away too. I guess it just proves the point that nobody has your best interest in mind except for you! And also, that this guy needs to retire himself…

  2. Starting young is the best way to go. Take it from someone who DIDN’T start young! I was told many years ago by someone much older, that you gotta begin retirement planning before 30 (they had also started late). I didn’t take that advice to heart and now am going to have to make it up by investing much more of my income towards retirement. Too bad I didn’t take that advice seriously.
    Little House recently posted..Thanks Lahore, Pakistan!My Profile

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  1. Money for College Roundup: Time Flies Edition | Money for College Project - [...] Retirement at Age 26 My experience in dealing with a retirement/financial counselor and his take on what retirement [...]
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