How Much 20-Somethings Should Save

Your 20s may seem like an odd time to think of retirement, but it’s actually the perfect moment to start planning for your later years. That’s because the earlier you start saving, the more time your money has to grow.

Savers who begin setting aside 10% of their earnings at 25, for example, could amass significantly more by retirement age than those who wait just five years to start saving. You can use online calculators to see how much starting saving now can produce once you reach retirement.

Building a nest egg on a starter salary and a shoestring budget can seem daunting, though. Focusing on the incremental savings, rather than the goal, can help your savings objectives feel more manageable.

How much to save for retirement
For those earning around $25,000 a year, the median income for 20 to 24 year olds in 2015, saving the recommended sum of 10% amounts to a little more than $200 a month.

It may seem like a reach, but consider this: If you start saving $100 a month at age 25 and invest it to return 7.7% a year — the average total return of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of U.S. stocks over the past decade — you’ll have more than $378,000 available at retirement age. And it could be tax-free.

If you wait until you’re 30 to start and save the same monthly amount at the same rate of return, you’ll wind up with less than $253,000.

Several vehicles can help you build a retirement fund. A 401(k) contributory plan, typically offered by your employer, is often the most convenient and easily accessible of these. Contributions you make usually aren’t taxed, which helps reduce your income tax liability.

Pre-tax 401(k) accounts make up around 80% of retirement plans offered by employers, according to the American Benefits Council. Roth 401(k) accounts are another option, though these are less widely available, and money contributed to a Roth 401(k) account goes in after it’s taxed. Money withdrawn from this type of account — including earnings — is usually tax-free.

Companies that offer a 401(k) plan often match employee contributions, up to a certain percentage. This is essentially free money toward your retirement.

If your employer will match your contributions, try to take full advantage and commit a large enough percentage to get the full benefit.

Beyond a 401(k), individual retirement accounts, commonly referred to as IRAs, offer another solid option. There are two types: traditional and Roth.

Money put into a traditional account is tax-deferred, similar to funds put in a traditional 401(k) plan. That means those funds aren’t taxed until they’re taken out. But typically any earnings you make with the money are also subject to income taxes on withdrawal.

Money put into a Roth IRA has already been taxed when you earn it, so there’s no immediate tax benefit. When it’s time to withdraw the cash, however, you usually don’t pay taxes on it. And anything the money earns also can be taken out tax-free.

Contributions to both types of IRAs are currently capped at $5,500 a year for those under age 50, and $6,500 for older workers.

How much to save for emergencies
In addition to retirement, it’s also wise to save for a rainy day. Ideally, your emergency fund should be enough to cover three to six months of living expenses.

Some experts suggest setting aside even more for savings and investments: 20%. That’s roughly $415 a month on an annual income of $25,000.

That’s not always feasible, especially if a big chunk of your monthly income goes to student loan and credit card payments. Consider saving what you can, even if it’s just $10 a month.

Making a habit of saving now could serve you well down the road. And, as your income increases, the percentage you save can as well.

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The Sixties And Beyond: Settling Into Retirement

Welcome to the final day of our series on Saving for Retirement at Any Age. Today our friends at NerdWallet have provided a great post on the decade of your Sixties. Read about the other decades – Twenties, Thirties, Forties and Fifties by clicking on each one.

 There’s one truism about retirement that has stood the test of time: It’s never too late, or too early, to start saving. Whether fresh out of school or winding down in a career, there are things you can do to successfully prepare your nest egg, as well as places where it’s easy to stumble. Financial institutions such as Vinton County National Bank can help you set up a retirement account and personalized plan. But it’s up to you to do the heavy lifting throughout the decades.

Retirement won't be a walk on the beach if you haven't prepared financially. The decade of your sixties is an important time for last minute readiness.

Retirement won’t be a walk on the beach if you haven’t prepared financially. The decade of your sixties is an important time for last minute readiness.

By Cait Klein, NerdWallet

As your working career draws to a close, it’s time to consider when to start drawing on retirement, Social Security or pension benefits. You’ve been working for the majority of your life, and you may have put off those big vacations or life dreams until you retired. But be wary. The biggest mistake people in this age group make is blowing through funds too quickly or all at once. Just because you have a million-dollar retirement fund doesn’t mean you can afford a yacht. Don’t spend the first two or three years of retirement in luxury only to spend the remaining decade or two in poverty. Be realistic about what the years ahead are going to look like and consider revamping the image if it’s not feasible. One way to curb this financial blunder is to retire later or to continue working at least part-time.

Working longer can help keep your mind active and add funds to cushion a nest egg. It also leads to additional government benefits. Whether you retire early or later, the total amount of Social Security benefits that you receive remain the same if you live as long as the expected average. However, delaying when you start receiving Social Security until after your full retirement age could  increase your monthly benefit.

Don’t let short-term thinking get in the way of your future retirement. No matter how old you are, take the initiative now so you can be financially set to embrace the final quarter of life. Growing older is a luxury not afforded to everyone. Make sure that as your hair grays and your smile lines deepen, you’re able to make the most of this new phase of life by being financially prepared.

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When it comes to credit cards, insurance, loans or expenses like hospital costs, consumers make almost all their decisions in the dark. NerdWallet is changing that by building accessible online tools and providing research and experts that can’t be found anywhere else, all to help consumers take back control of their choices in a marketing-driven, trillion-dollar industry. Find out more at www.nerdwallet.com.

The Fifties: Playing Catch-Up

We are nearing the end of Retirement Week by talking about what you should be doing to prepare for retirement when you are in the Fifties age group. Thanks to NerdWallet for providing us such great advice for you today! Check out other decades from earlier this week – Twenties, Thirties and Forties.

There’s one truism about retirement that has stood the test of time: It’s never too late, or too early, to start saving. Whether fresh out of school or winding down in a career, there are things you can do to successfully prepare your nest egg, as well as places where it’s easy to stumble. Financial institutions such as Vinton County National Bank can help you set up a retirement account and personalized plan. But it’s up to you to do the heavy lifting throughout the decades.

Is retirement in your future?

By Cait Klein, NerdWallet

As you straddle the equator of youth and older age, if you haven’t been funding a retirement account, it’s time to play some serious catch-up. Individuals over the age of 50 can make catch up contributions to a Roth IRA before the end of the year of up to $1,000 in 2015. With a 401(k) and other retirement accounts, you can make additional contributions up to $6,000.

The biggest mistake people make as they round the corner toward retirement is getting fixated on a certain image of what life ought to look like. If you envisioned traveling the world or parking on a beach, you may be sorely disappointed if your savings fall short. Remember the adage, you can’t take it with you. Consider downgrading your lifestyle now — moving to a smaller house, selling off additional cars or assets and limiting vacations. Start adopting the lifestyle of a fixed income, if that’s where you’re heading.

NerdWallet
When it comes to credit cards, insurance, loans or expenses like hospital costs, consumers make almost all their decisions in the dark. NerdWallet is changing that by building accessible online tools and providing research and experts that can’t be found anywhere else, all to help consumers take back control of their choices in a marketing-driven, trillion-dollar industry. Find out more at www.nerdwallet.com.

The Forties: Staying Focused

Retirement Week continues! Every day we are posting retirement advice from NerdWallet. Read about preparing in your Twenties and Thirties. Today’s focus is on the Forties.

There’s one truism about retirement that has stood the test of time: It’s never too late, or too early, to start saving. Whether fresh out of school or winding down in a career, there are things you can do to successfully prepare your nest egg, as well as places where it’s easy to stumble. Financial institutions such as Vinton County National Bank can help you set up a retirement account  and personalized plan. But it’s up to you to do the heavy lifting throughout the decades.

 

By Cait Klein, NerdWallet

Despite having another twenty years until retirement, it’s time to get more serious. If you’ve been heavy on the investments and stock portfolio, you may want to start pulling back a bit and shifting to more conservative strategies, such as government bonds. One rule of thumb is to subtract your age from 110 and to have the result be the percentage of your savings that’s invested in the stock market. For example, 45-year-olds may want 65 percent of their savings in stocks as opposed to the 80 percent or more that 30-year-olds might want. Consider refinancing your home if there are better rates available. It’s also time to start paying down credit card and other high-interest debts and allocating that money back into your future.

Don’t let your current life get in the way of a future one — particularly in your forties. People often take a detour from saving to fund higher education for their children. But doing so could put both generations in financial danger. If you aren’t prepared for retirement, you could be a major burden to your own children, preventing them from establishing savings. It’s important to have three to six months’ living expenses saved in an emergency account to prevent the need to draw on retirement funds in the event of a medical crisis, roof leak or for higher education.

NerdWallet
When it comes to credit cards, insurance, loans or expenses like hospital costs, consumers make almost all their decisions in the dark. NerdWallet is changing that by building accessible online tools and providing research and experts that can’t be found anywhere else, all to help consumers take back control of their choices in a marketing-driven, trillion-dollar industry. Find out more at www.nerdwallet.com.

 

 

The Thirties: Time To Get Serious

We have retirement on the brain this week. Every day this week we will post retirement advice from NerdWallet on the various stages of life. Today, we are focusing on the thirties. These folks have been working a while and are more stable in their careers but do they know how to prepare for retirement? Read about your twenties here (w/Link) 

There’s one truism about retirement that has stood the test of time: It’s never too late, or too early, to start saving. Whether fresh out of school or winding down in a career, there are things you can do to successfully prepare your nest egg, as well as places where it’s easy to stumble. Financial institutions such as Vinton County National Bank can help you set up a retirement account and personalized plan. But it’s up to you to do the heavy lifting throughout the decades.

If you are in your thirties, now is the time to get serious about your retirement savings.

By Cait Klein, NerdWallet

If you hit your thirtieth birthday and you haven’t started thinking about retirement, you’re not in the danger zone yet, but you are starting from behind. Consider meeting with a financial planner to see where you’re spending more than you need to and discuss how to redirect some of that money toward retirement. Create a budget and consider trying to divert 20 percent of your income into savings. If the company you work for provides a 401(k) account and matches a percentage of employee contributions, make sure to participate with an eye toward contributing at least enough to get the full match.

Before making big purchases, look into a crystal ball and envision the future. Don’t saddle yourself with a level of debt that could distract from your retirement down the line. If you’re about to buy your first home, and you made good strides in building your retirement fund in your twenties, you might be tempted to draw on that money for a down payment. Although the Internal Revenue Service allows first-time homebuyers to draw on a portion of their retirement savings to pay for a home, doing so results in a double hit. Not only are you reducing your plan by the amount you withdraw, you’re also causing the dividends that that money would have accrued to evaporate. As a result, though you might have a beautiful house, you might also find that you have to delay your retirement because you have to work longer to make up for the withdrawal and those unrealized dividends — or, you might find that your later years end up being less golden than you’d anticipated.

NerdWallet

“When it comes to credit cards, insurance, loans or expenses like hospital costs, consumers make almost all their decisions in the dark. NerdWallet is changing that by building accessible online tools and providing research and experts that can’t be found anywhere else, all to help consumers take back control of their choices in a marketing-driven, trillion-dollar industry. Find out more at www.nerdwallet.com.”