Although graduating from college comes with an array of emotions and excitement, it’s important to take time to think about your career path and the ways you can begin planning for retirement. Unlike your parents and grandparents, millennials will be mostly on their own for retirement savings, given the shift in the retirement landscape toward more of a “pay-for-yourself” era. For recent college grads, the key to safeguarding retirement will be to start thinking and saving early. Saving early can add up quickly, and you certainly can’t start early enough!
According to a recent report, a third of U.S. workers nearing retirement are destined to live in or near poverty when entering retirement. An underlying cause of this is the sharp decline in employer-sponsored retirement plans over the past 15 years. So while you may not know exactly where you’re headed in terms of a career path as a recent graduate, it’s important to keep in mind that you may not be able to fully rely on a retirement plan from your employer.
Below is a list of things recent college graduates should keep in mind regarding retirement:
- Start planning early. The easiest way to start planning early is to determine the portion of your paycheck you would like to set aside for retirement each month. While retirement, right now, may seem far away, saving a little now adds up to a lot later.
- Discover small ways to cut back. It’s perfectly okay to go out to lunch, have fun with your friends, travel or enjoy a Starbucks latte. That being said, it is just as important to start thinking ahead as soon as you start working to discover small changes you can make to save. For example –staying home one or two nights a month instead of going out makes an enormous difference in the long run
- Take advantage of free money. Consider contributing to your company’s 401(k) plan or any employer-sponsored plans available. Think of any match your employer is willing to make as “free money.” Keep in mind that a 401(k) will likely not be enough for retirement and will eventually need to be supplemented by another product. A Fixed Indexed Annuitiy (FIA), which protects your principal while generating guaranteed income is one option
- Balance your portfolio. As a student or young professional, you have the luxury to put some of your money into high-risk investments – since your retirement is seemingly far away. However, for the safety of your future, it’s important to balance your retirement portfolio with risk-adverse savings products that offer opportunities for market growth with protection from market volatility.
- Expect to live longer. Less than 1 in 10 pre-retirees expect to live to age 91 or older. However, 48 percent of pre-retirees reported their longest living family members reached age 91 or older. Truth is, Americans are living longer, and it’s important to have a retirement savings that will last the long haul. When saving, plan for a long life and include savings products that will last your entire retirement. The IALC site has a downloadable checklist to help you.