Saving for your retirement looks very different at age 30 compared to age 60 – your resources and risk tolerance change as you move through life. It’s important to develop a retirement savings plan that is age-appropriate and adjust it as your circumstances change. Here are some things to consider at different stages of life:
In Your 20s: While your earning ability is typically at its lowest in your 20s, the power of compound interest makes this decade the best time to invest. A common recommendation for people in their 20s is to invest a majority of their retirement savings in stocks rather than bonds or savings accounts. A 2016 investment analysis found that a 25-year old with a $40,456 salary who invested 15% a year exclusively in the stock market would likely end up with as much as $3.3 million more than if the money was kept in savings accounts. However you decide to invest your retirement savings, strive to balance your approach with paying off outstanding debt (student loans, credit cards) and saving for an emergency fund.
In Your 30s: You are most likely earning more in your 30s and should invest 10%-15% of your salary. You should also take full advantage of employer contributions offered by your employer. Investing in a home or rental property is a good idea, provided you will be able to keep the real estate for at least five years. When you compare long-term investment returns on stocks and bonds, stocks vastly outperform cash and bond investments over time. You have decades to potentially make up any temporary losses in the stock market, so invest as aggressively in equities as your risk comfort level allows.
In your 40s: By the time you reach your 40s, you should be saving as much as possible for your retirement. Max out your retirement contributions by investing the full allowable annual amount. Investing in a tax-advantaged Roth IRA in addition to your 401(k) or 403(b) will help boost your retirement savings. It’s the right time to start investing in some lower-risk bonds too, unless you have been neglecting your retirement savings plan. Talk to a financial advisor about the ideal investment mix to achieve your savings goals while maintaining an acceptable risk level.
In Your 50s and 60s: You are allowed to start making catch-up contributions to tax-free savings accounts in the year you turn 50. In 2018, you can save up to $24,500 in a 401(k) and up to $6,500 in an IRA each year. Take advantage of the higher contribution limits – you may need to build emergency funds to meet unexpected medical expenses and other costs in retirement.
Your last decades of saving for retirement is typically the time to start rebalancing your portfolio. Consider moving your funds into bonds and money markets. And, work with a financial advisor to help you figure out your ideal investment mix that will provide income throughout your retirement.
These suggestions are starting points to saving for retirement throughout the different life stages. And, no matter your age, it’s never too late to start.
Financial adviser, retirement wealth strategist, founder of Strategy Financial Group and author of “Climbing the Retirement Mountain” and “The Retirement Roadmap,” Calvin Goetz is an Investment Adviser Representative who holds the Series 65 securities license, is life and health insurance licensed in the state of Arizona and is a member of Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisor Group™ and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA). For more information, visit StrategyFinancialGroup.com.