Retirement saving is a crucial part of our personal finances. But with so many more immediate needs and wants, it is difficult to allocate resources to a retirement that could be decades away. Here are five ways to make it easier to save for retirement.
Create a tangible benefit. Most people think of retirement as a number, such as a dollar amount they need to reach or a monthly income goal. Instead, think of the lifestyle that you are saving up for. Translate the savings goal into what you will actually do. Is golfing every day or seeing more of your kids and grandchildren your dream? These goals should be your motivation to save. No one wants to save money just to reach a certain number, but everybody will work hard to get to do the activities they dream of.
Make it automatic. One of the best benefits of saving in a 401(k) is that the money never enters your checking account. When you don't see the extra money you learn to live with that smaller paycheck and the savings will rack up over time. Even if you don’t have a 401(k) at work, make sure you pay yourself first.
Use your budget as a guide only. Some people allocate a percentage of their income to save for retirement and then use the rest for expenses. As a result, many people end up spending all their discretionary income each month. Instead, monitor your spending and think about the value that you are getting from every purchase. You might find that you can save quite a bit more money if you cut out things you don’t need or enjoy. Having a budget is a good start, but also work on improving it.
Make more income. There are a variety of ways you can reduce your monthly expenses so that you can save more. But once you have eliminated all the expenses you are willing to cut, making more money is probably a better way to boost your savings. The more you make, the easier saving money is, as long as you don’t inflate your lifestyle when you get raises. As your income grows, aim to live well without spending a lot of money.
Create a plan and execute it successfully. Having a plan and watching your nest egg grow can give you an incredible sense of achievement and satisfaction. Once you create a solid retirement plan and begin hitting your savings goals every month, it becomes a powerful motivator to save even more.
David Ning runs MoneyNing, a personal finance site aimed at helping others change their habits for a better financial future. He suggests that everyone to sign up for an online savings account to get more out of our hard earned money.