Saving for retirement is one of the most important priorities in your financial life. You’re essentially investing in your future now, so you don’t have to be a slave to a job until you die and you can actually enjoy your golden years.
But there are several factors that make saving for retirement difficult:
YOLO (You Only Live Once)
This pop catch phrase sums it up so perfectly. You do only live once, which is such a great justification for blowing all your money and having fun now. You can’t take it with you, right? Yolo can creep up in many situations and encourage you to make bad financial decisions.
Personally, this is a hard one for me. I’m trying to manage paying off debt, saving for retirement and living the best version of my life possible. I want to know that if I did die tomorrow, that I had a darn good life and had some fun. So the YOLO concept is real, but you need to keep it in check. Indulge in small luxuries. Save up for big purchases, at the same time you save for retirement. Never put retirement on the backburner.
How Will I Know How Much to Save?
A confusing part of saving for retirement is knowing how much to save. The reality is you could die tomorrow, or live until you are 100. The thing is you don’t know exactly how much to save, but you’ll want to be prepared just in case. You should live everyday with as much zest and fun as if it’s your last, so don’t forget to have some fun — but it also sounds terrible to be 100 and completely broke. As you get older, healthcare costs increase and you may have many unexpected expenses. If you are to retire at age 65, consider you probably have a good twenty years or more if you are lucky. But people are living longer than ever, so you could live well into your nineties.
To know how much to save, take your currently salary – ask yourself, does this salary pay for my desired lifestyle? If not, you need to make more money and save more money. If it does, take your currently salary amount and multiply it by 20 years, presuming you live until 85. But that’s probably not enough either, considering the cost of inflation. The solution is more is always better.
Ask yourself can you live on less? How can you make your money stretch even further, without compromising your lifestyle?
What Does Retirement Mean to You?
When saving for retirement it’s important to think of what that actually means. Will your retirement be full of empty days and lounging around? Or will it be filled with pet projects that you have put off for years? It’s important to know what your version of retirement will look like. It will help you focus on the goal and visualize your future. For me, I can’t imagine myself not working at all. I’m a bit of a workaholic, and I imagine my retirement years being full of part-time work, relaxing, traveling, and enjoying the best life has to offer, for the least amount of money. For example, my grandpa is 93 and is technically retired, but he still teaches yoga several times a week, because he loves it. He gets a small stipend for it, but he stays active.
When saving for retirement, keep the end goal in mind. While it may be decades away, you want to provide your future self a cushion to actually enjoy life. If you haven’t started, start now! If you have only a little saved up, like me, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just keep going and add what you can. Remember, retirement is about investing in your future self, so start now by providing for yourself later.