Retirement Savings: It’s Never Too Early or Too Late to Start Planning

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Advice about retirement accounts
Start planning your retirement now.

It’s never too early or too late to start planning for retirement and learning about different retirement savings accounts. The advantage of planning right out of the gate is time and compound interest are on your side for the long haul. However, if you’re starting later or making up for lost time, you simply have to be little more proactive.

Create a written plan

It’s time to bring your specific retirement goals into focus. Use an app, your favorite spreadsheet template, or old-school paper and pencil, to start outlining your retirement goals. With these goals in mind, continuing to follow your monthly budget will keep your spending and savings habits in line and on track.

401(k)

More than likely your employer offers a 401(k) retirement account. If you haven’t already, sign up now and take advantage of it. Whether you are fully vested immediately or gradually based on years of employment, this type of automatic savings plan is the smartest way to save with minimal effort and maximum tax advantage. If your employer offers matching contributions, even better! This is free money and not something to leave on the table.

Other retirement savings accounts

On the flip side, look into Individual Retirement Accounts, or IRAs, if you have maxed out 401(k) contributions or if your employer does not offer a retirement savings plan. When looking at the fund choices available, look closely at the fees per fund. Do your homework here and compare. Wouldn’t you rather see your money grow over time than land in someone else’s pocket?

If you are younger and want to plan ahead, chances are a Roth IRA is perfect for you. While Roth IRA contributions are taxed now, the gains (interest accrued over time) and withdrawals made after age 59 ½ are tax-free. You will really appreciate not paying taxes on this money once you retire.

Stick to your goals and budget

Keep your retirement and savings goals in mind on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. By sticking to your budget, you are able to live within your means and not accrue more debt. Resolving outstanding debt, building an emergency fund and continuing to build savings in your retirement account should all be part of your initial written plan. If you receive unexpected income or a raise at work, channel it towards retirement savings where it can grow.

Get help from DCCU

If you need to fine-tune your monthly budget or are looking at opening your first IRA, let the staff at Dane County Credit Union help you move forward. Thinking about retirement can be intimidating but some times getting started is  as easy as sitting down to create a written plan. And, don’t forget, DCCU is always there to help you.

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Hillary W.

Hillary is a 2008 graduate of UW-Madison. She is a proud Badger all the way, but her strong love of travelling led her to a graduate program out in Phoenix, AZ, which she absolutely adored. Now, back in Madison, Hillary is once again connected to her Wisconsin roots. In the winter, you can find her on the ski slopes whenever she has time. In summer, she's on the bike path or enjoying a good book along any stretch of lakefront. Also a passionate Mallards fan, look for her at Warner Park whenever a game is in town!