Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Start Saving for Retirement

During your twenties, everyone has some kind of advice they want to impart upon you. Whether it’s “live in the moment!” or “find a job you love,” those older and wiser seem to have a million tidbits of knowledge they want to share.

However, one thing many adults don’t stress to recent college grads is the importance of saving for retirement right away. Although living in the moment and focusing on your passions is important, many twenty-somethings miss out on the opportunity to build wealth with very little effort.

Compound Interest Is an Amazing Thing

Many people don’t want to save for retirement soon because they don’t know how the process works. They hear phrases like “compound interest” and “IRA” float around, but they don’t truly understand what they mean until they’re older.

As soon as I began to understand the massive impact of compound interest, I felt like I had no choice but to start saving aggressively. Think about it this way: a 25-year-old who puts away $5,000 one time and never saves again will have more money saved after 40 years than someone who waits ten years and then saves $500 per year for the next 30 years. Just think about how much wealth we could all accumulate by the time we’re middle-aged if we all started saving aggressively while we’re young!

Investing Takes Time to Learn

Ask many twenty-year-olds when they start planning to save for retirement and they’ll say “later.” The problem with this answer is that it not only puts you behind in your goals, but means you’ll have to save even more later to make up for it. No one can become an expert at saving and investing overnight, which means your profits will most certainly be delayed even after you start saving.

When I started saving in my early twenties, the process of learning to invest my IRA contributions overwhelmed me. I spent hours researching the best tactics and made several bad choices before I began to see any growth. That’s why I’d recommend that any college grads (and even college students) start to build a retirement fund way in advance. This gives them wiggle room to learn and make mistakes before they really need to sock away large amounts of money.

Social Security Isn’t a Guaranteed Benefit in Our Future

Although Social Security payments might seem like a given, the Social Security Act was only created in the 1930s. According to some experts, it has grown past its original intent, and although it may be there to support this current generation in their retirement, it’s not a guarantee. Many things can change in the next 50 years, so everyone needs to have their own backup plan for retirement that doesn’t rely on help from the government.

The Bottom Line

Unlike some people, I fortunately didn’t wait until I was very old to start saving. Still, I wish someone had told me to start saving as soon as I possibly could. This would help me reap more benefits and feel totally secure in my ability to retire on my own terms someday. The median retirement savings for most Americans in their 30s is only $45,000. By just starting to save five or ten years earlier, you could make a staggering difference in your savings. Don’t regret your choices like me; instead, open your IRA or 401K today and start preparing for your future.

5 Steps You Need to Take ASAP If You Lose Your Wallet

No matter how careful you are, you’ll likely misplace your wallet at some point. Maybe you’ll leave it behind in an Uber, or perhaps someone will steal it. Regardless of how you lose your possessions, it’s imperative that you take these five steps as soon as possible to minimize the damage and secure your assets.

1. Call Your Banks Immediately

Although you might have lost everything, including your cash and your driver’s license, the most dangerous lost item is actually your debit card. Thieves can quickly use your debit card to access your bank account and withdraw large sums of money, and unfortunately, those funds might not be replaceable.

Call your bank as soon as you realize your wallet is missing and have them cancel your lost debit card. They will issue you a new one and take note of any attempted uses of the old debit card. ID cards and other wallet contents are replaceable, but the contents of your bank account might not be.

2. Request New Credit Cards

Credit cards are less dangerous to lose since they don’t provide thieves with direct access to your checking account, but they still need to be secured. After you’ve finished protecting your debit card, call any credit card companies you have an account with and have them send you a new card.

Fortunately, if a thief does use your credit card before you can report it missing, you will only be responsible for a small portion of the unauthorized purchases (usually around $50). Still, you should secure your credit accounts as quickly as possible to prevent complications. Some credit companies even allow you to freeze your account online as soon as you misplace the card.

3. Freeze Your Accounts With All Three Credit Bureaus

One concern about losing your wallet is that anyone who finds it could piece together your identity with credit cards, driver’s licenses, and other forms of identification. This means that your personal identity could be at risk. The Federal Trade Commission reports that roughly  9 million Americans experience some form of identity theft each year, so don’t take the concern lightly. 

To prevent someone else from impersonating you and applying for credit cards or other big purchases (home loans, apartments, etc.), freeze your credit accounts with the three big bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. Then, if anyone attempts to fill out an application with your information, the credit bureau will block them from securing funds in your name. It used to cost money to freeze your account, but luckily, the process is now free to everyone. 

4. Report and Replace Your Missing Driver’s License

Because your identity at risk, it’s smart to report your driver’s license as missing to the police department or local DMV. You may also want to look into an identity theft protection program that will alert you to fraudulent actions and help you replace items you’ve lost.

To replace your missing driver’s license, you’ll need to visit your state’s department of motor vehicles. Some states will allow you to apply for a replacement online while others will require you to come to a DMV location.

5. Download an App to Monitor Transactions

There are dozens of personal finance apps on the market that are designed to help you track and approve every transaction made on your debit and credit accounts. For instance, with an application like Mint, you’ll see every charge on your cards. This is especially important after your wallet has gone missing; if anyone makes a fraudulent charge, you’ll know right away.

When you lose your wallet, time is of the essence. Don’t hesitate to start making important phone calls and freezing accounts. These actions could prevent you from serious problems like lost funds and identity theft, so take them seriously.

5 Financial Goals You Can Accomplish in 2019

After all of the New Year’s Eve festivities wind down and midnight strikes the clock, it’s officially 2019, and like most people, you probably want to set a resolution that you can achieve in the next 365 days. Some people focus on their physical health and opt to make weight loss and a better diet their resolution while others plan to find their dream job or cross a few destinations off of their travel bucket list.

While these are all great solutions, a new year is also a great time to set financial goals. By taking charge of your finances, you can pay off debt, save more money, and increase your overall financial standing.

Here are 5 financial goals that you can accomplish in 2019.

1. Create a Budget & Stick with It

Creating a budget is a simple yet highly effective way to achieve financial success and freedom. Yet studies have found that only 1 in 3 households use a budget to keep track of their finances in an organized way. Budgeting is a great way to devise a plan on how you will spend and save your monthly income. By budgeting, you can ensure you have enough money to pay for bills while also having money left over to put into a savings account or to spend.

The good news is that in today’s digital world, budgeting is extremely easy. In fact, there are all sorts of budgeting and financial apps available to make managing your money a breeze. Top apps include:

  • PocketGuard
  • Mint
  • Wally
  • Acorns
  • You Need a Budget

After ringing in 2019, open your app store and download one of these tools. Budgeting and money management is much easier when you’ve got a trusted app to help you along.

2. Pay off Debt

Getting into debt is easy, but getting out of debt can feel like a never-ending uphill battle. Start the New Year by making a resolution to manage your finances and Get out of Debt. No matter if you’re in $5k worth of debt or $50k, it’s never too late or too soon to start chipping away at that number. Begin the new year by having a plan to reduce the amount of money you owe creditors.

To start, make a list of your debt, to include how much you owe and to who you owe. Using the list you can determine which debt to tackle first. Some people prefer to pay off their highest-interest-rate debt first while others pay off the lowest amount of debt, known as the snowballing method.

No matter how you decide to pay off your debt, the important part going into 2019 is that you have a plan to pay down and pay off debt. Even if you don’t end the year entirely debt free, reducing your debt load is a huge accomplishment.

3. Save More Money

How much money do you have in savings? If you’re ashamed of the answer, you aren’t alone. A 2016 study found that 35% of U.S. adults only have hundreds of dollars in their savings accounts while 34% have nothing saved.

Having and continuously funding a savings account is beneficial in many ways. A financial emergency can happen at any time. Wouldn’t it be ideal to have money set aside for car repairs instead of charging a credit card? Financial emergencies shouldn’t put you into debt.

Savings accounts are also beneficial in that you can start and continue good financial habits early on. By putting money into your savings account each paycheck, you can get into the habit of saving and have peace of mind that you have money available to use outside of your checking account.

You can also earn money with Swagbucks and save all of it in an account to help you get started while you work on the rest of your budgeting.

4. Build an Emergency Fund

Similarly to savings accounts, people rarely also have an emergency fund. An emergency fund can be seen as a secondary savings account. With an emergency fund, you can use your savings account to save for an upcoming vacation or to pay for a large expense. On the other hand, the emergency fund is used strictly for emergencies such as:

  • Car repairs
  • Appliance repair or replacement
  • Medical emergencies

Because financial emergencies can truly happen at any time, having an emergency fund allows you to have money to fall back on during a rough patch. Emergency funds are also beneficial in the event that you lose your job or are unable to work.

In 2019, make it your resolution to build an emergency fund that can pay all of your expenses for at least three months. Happy saving!

5. Start Saving for Retirement

No one wants to work for the rest of their lives, yet it seems so many people, especially younger generations, are opposed to saving for retirement. Most Americans have less than $1,000 saved while half of all adults in the U.S. have nothing set aside for retirement.

To get the most bang for your retirement buck, utilize any retirement benefits that your company offers, such as an IRA with company matching. Even if you can only contribute 3% of your paycheck or $50 a month, setting aside something for retirement is better than nothing! Plus you can enjoy the various tax benefits of saving for retirement early on in life.

Conclusion

With the New Year right around the corner, now is the time to start thinking of what you want to accomplish in 2019. If financial security sounds good to you, try achieving one of these five financial goals.

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