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From Sprout to Summit

Conquering Your Retirement Mountain

Navigating the Maze: How Much Should You Really Be Saving for Retirement?

The golden years don't necessarily look the same to all of us. It could be a time for travel, leisure, and finally reaping the rewards of a lifetime of hard work. Others look at it as a time to spend with grandchildren and helping the younger generation prosper. But how much do you need to save to ensure those golden years shine bright? That means enough savings to draw income from to enjoy an independent retirement with dignity and confort. The answer, as with most things in life, is... complicated. I plan for clients and rarely see plans followed 100% without interruption or change. It depends on a multitude of factors like your lifestyle, desired retirement age, and current financial situation.

Yet, amidst the ambiguity, there are guiding lights. Here's a roadmap for retirement savings at different stages of life:

Early 20s - The Sprout Stage or Party Stage for many:

  • Savings target: 10-15% of income. You might scoff, but even small, consistent contributions now benefit from the magic of compound interest.

  • Strategy: Prioritize employer matches - free money! Opt for Roth contributions if available for early access to the funds (with tax-free growth!).

  • Benefits: Building a solid foundation, establishing healthy saving habits, and taking advantage of early-career earning potential.

  • Drawbacks: Limited disposable income might make saving feel like a mountain climb. Let's face it, many 20 something year olds are thinking more about the weekend, friends and the next party versus saving for something that will happen 50 years down the road.

  • Quality of life boost: Start small, but celebrate milestones. Consider side hustles for extra cash towards retirement.

Late 20s & 30s - The Climber's Ascent:

  • Savings target: 15-20% of income. Time to ramp up! Promotions and salary increases should translate to higher contributions.

  • Strategy: Increase contributions annually, diversify investments beyond traditional funds, and consider seeking professional financial advice.

  • Benefits: Compounding interest kicks in, accelerating your account growth. You'll start feeling more confident about your retirement future.

  • Drawbacks: Balancing saving with life goals like buying a house or starting a family can be tricky. Buying a home shouldn't be viewed as an investment per say because the net return after years of taxes, insurance, repairs and maintenance might shock you when you deduct those expenses from your sale price.

  • Quality of life boost: Automate contributions - set it and forget it! Prioritize financial education and make informed investment decisions.

40s & 50s - The Summit Nears:

  • Savings target: 20-25% of income. This is crunch time! Catch-up contributions for older individuals can be a game-changer.

  • Strategy: Reassess asset allocation based on risk tolerance and proximity to retirement. Pay off high-interest debt to minimize financial burdens.

  • Benefits: You're in the home stretch! Seeing your retirement nest egg grow is incredibly motivating.

  • Drawbacks: Potential career changes or unexpected expenses can throw a wrench in plans.

  • Quality of life boost: Focus on health and well-being for a vibrant retirement. Consider downsizing for lower living expenses.

Remember: These are just general guidelines. Adjust based on your unique circumstances. Annual reassessment and change of your pla is important. The longer you don't account for change, the more off course you'll be heading.

Beyond Savings: Enhancing Your Retirement

Saving is crucial, but it's not the only path to a happy retirement. Here are some additional tips:

  • Pay off debt: High-interest debt can eat away at your retirement savings. Prioritize tackling it early.

  • Boost your income: Side hustles, investments, or rental properties can provide additional income in retirement.

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Good health can significantly reduce healthcare costs in retirement. Prioritize exercise, healthy eating, and preventive care.

  • Stay active and engaged: Social connections and intellectual stimulation are key to a happy retirement. Volunteer, travel, pursue hobbies, and stay connected with loved ones.

By combining smart saving with a comprehensive retirement plan, you can navigate the maze and reach your golden years with confidence and joy. Remember, the sooner you start, the less daunting the climb will be. So, lace up your boots, take the first step, and conquer your mountain of golden dreams!

If you haven't checked out my PennyWise Financial Podcast, watch a look at a clip from one of our shows with guest Liz Biehler from The Liz Harley Agency with Allstate in Victor, NY. Scroll down to watch the entire episode. It's available on all major podcast platforms like Apple, Google Spotify, and YouTube.

👇Or click below to watch the full Episode

Everyone wants to offer advice. We hope you have the right person. A trusted person to guide you on your path to achieving your goals. If you're not working with the right team or want a second opinion, we hope you consider our services. Follow our content to learn more about our process, and investment philosophy and hear real-life accounts of what our clients are dealing with and how we help them.

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