I’m on a tight budget. How can I save money for retirement now with so many other obligations?
Here are a few tips:
Pay yourself first – This isn’t rocket science, it’s simply a way of adjusting how you look at saving for retirement. If you’re like most people, you pay your bills, reward yourself with some spending money, and promise to tuck a little away for retirement if anything’s left over. With the “pay yourself” principle, you set aside a specific amount from each paycheck for your retirement first, pay your bills next, and then reward yourself with what’s left. That’s an easy way to cut back on small indulgences.
It’s okay to 401(k) – If your employer offers a 401(k), sign up! Since the money is automatically deducted from your paycheck, you won’t be tempted to spend it. It’s “pay yourself first” in action! The added bonus is – that money is tax-deferred, and the power of compounding discussed in the question above comes into play there. And, if your employer offers a matching contribution, you get a second bonus because you’re getting free money. Don’t leave that money on the table. Contribute enough to get a full match.
Up the ante – When you get a raise, try to increase your 401(k) contribution by at least a percent. If you don’t ever see it, you won’t miss it.
Don’t stop thinkin’ about tomorrow – When you max out your 401(k) contribution, think about opening an IRA. You don’t have to contribute the maximum or even contribute every year, but doing so might result in some very nice tax benefits while helping you prepare for your financial future.