Never Too Late: How to Fast Track Saving for Retirement When You’re Already in Your 30s
In your 20s, retirement may seem like something that’s too far off in the future for you to worry about. Entering your 30s, you’d soon realize how important time is when it comes to your long-term financial goals, your retirement included.
To make things more complicated, you’re likely to find saving even more difficult as you take on more responsibilities when you marry or start having kids. Still, it isn’t too late for you to make up for lost time and finally jumpstart your retirement savings.
To get started, Olympic athlete turned financial advisor Lauryn Williams recommends that you take a closer look at your cash flow. She says that you’ll find the ‘black hole savings’ even by just going through your budget and expenses one time.
And when you find out how much money you can put aside, put it into a savings account right away. Another thing you should do is build an emergency fund if you don’t have one yet.
Depending on your income, you can start with $5,000 to $10,000 as a buffer and then save up to six months’ worth of your take-home pay.
Balancing Debt and Savings
If you have a lot of unpaid debt, you might find it harder to start saving. Williams believes that you can still find a balance between paying those off and securing your retirement.
For example, you can apply for debt forgiveness or sign up for an income repayment plan if you have federal student loans. However, be reminded that qualifying for debt forgiveness isn’t guaranteed and not many people are eligible for it.
In the short-term, you can use your student loan payments to save up for retirement as the president has suspended federal student loan payments until 2021.
Meanwhile, those who have private student loans are recommended to consider refinancing their debt to get a lower rate.
Put Yourself First
If you’re already a parent, you’re probably already planning for your kids’ education. While you aren’t discouraged from providing for their college fund altogether, it’s encouraged that you put yourself first.
Focus on saving for your retirement first if you can only afford to set aside funds for one thing at the moment. Keep in mind that your child can take out a loan for their education but you can’t do the same when your retirement comes.
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