My 21- year-old mindset was that I wanted every bit of the money that I had earned. Why should I even bother thinking about retirement at such a young age? If only I had taken the time to understand what I could have accumulated if I started out saving for retirement at 21 instead of 30+.
I wasted over nine years of savings!
It makes my stomach hurt to think about. Add in the fact that when I finally "got" the concept of a 401K and started to make the contributions, I did the absolute worst thing ever. When I switched jobs, I decided that there wasn't that much in my account to make a difference, so I just took the money instead of rolling it over to my next job. Ugh. Forget the fact that they tax the crap out of you when you do that, but once again, I have no idea where that money went and now, that "little" bit could have been sitting and accumulating and could have been "a lot a bit" right now.
Once again, another lesson learned.
I can now say that I am on the right path of rolling over my 401K plans and contributing as much as possible. I am a long way off from being able to retire the good life, but at least there is something building toward that now.
It can be a little bit overwhelming thinking about the money you will need to retire comfortably, but ignoring it doesn't make it any easier. Having a solid plan in place keeps you on the right track and as you get closer to making decisions about retirement, with a solid plan in place, it isn't so scary.
Unfortunately, you hear more often about situations where people didn't plan for their retirement. These folks thought they had an income level where they would always "have" money but, due to the economy, the money they are used to isn't coming in anymore and suddenly at 60 years old they are starting all over again.
Sad, but a reality.
So let this blog serve as a warning for people of any age. Whether you are just starting out in your career or have started to think about retirement, you need a plan.
Have a Plan A and a Plan B when it comes to saving for your future.
Research and understand the retirement plan that your company offers and how you can take advantage of it. If your company doesn't have a retirement plan, find out what other options there are out there. And there are a lot of options...
Do the research and make it happen sooner rather than later-your future depends on it!
Katie is a VERY recent graduate from the CareOne Debt Relief Services Debt Management Plan (DMP). You can read more about Katie's experience in the My Journey out of Debt and A Straight Talk on Debt blogs. In her blog, Katie explores life without credit cards, living on a 'real' budget and making the adjustment from spender to saver. Katie has been blogging about her DMP since she started and has over four years of experience on the plan. Katie lives just outside of Charlotte North Carolina with her husband and rescue dogs. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.