May 29, 2023
As a millennial managing your finances, it can be challenging to know where to begin. With so many financial goals vying for attention, it's tempting to prioritize short-term and exciting ones like buying a home, starting a business, taking a sabbatical, or saving for your children's education. However, there's one goal and one risk that demand your immediate attention. Prioritize retirement savings and safeguarding your income. By starting early, you can ensure success in these two critical areas. Let's explore how to get started.
You're already aware of the importance of saving for retirement, so I won't dwell on that. Instead, let's discuss how you can effortlessly set yourself up for retirement success and resume enjoying your money.
I recommend my clients strive for a savings rate of 20%, with 10% allocated to retirement accounts. If you have a 401k (or another employer plan) with a company match, reaching 10% is quite attainable. The most common 401k match is 3%, so you only need to contribute an additional 7% to achieve the 10% goal. Here are a few ways to save that 7%.
First, make sure you contribute at least 3% to your 401k to maximize the match. Some companies offer more substantial matches, so take full advantage of that opportunity.
Next, decide where to allocate the remaining 4% of your contributions. In our example, you already contribute 3% to your 401k, with a 3% match (totaling 6% contribution). To cover the remaining 4%, consider adding it to your 401k or explore other accounts that offer added flexibility. One account to consider is a Roth IRA, although be aware of income and contribution limits. Another option is a Health Savings Account (HSA), which may sound unconventional, but it provides numerous tax benefits and you can invest HSA funds and use them similarly to a retirement account.
That's it—simple and straightforward. It's advisable to review your situation and perhaps consult a financial advisor, but by ticking off these boxes, you're on track for a comfortable retirement. Now let's address the risk.
Think of your retirement funds as a fortified castle. When mitigating risk, we construct a moat and protective walls around that castle. To maximize the potential of compounding growth in your retirement accounts, it's crucial to leave them untouched. Our objective is to position ourselves (and our loved ones) in a way that avoids tapping into those funds in case of income loss. Here are three potential income loss scenarios and how to safeguard against them.
I understand that these financial aspects aren't the most exciting or glamorous. However, they address a fundamental emotional need—security. By ensuring a 10% income allocation to retirement accounts, obtaining the right disability insurance policy, building an emergency fund, and acquiring a straightforward term life insurance policy, you can find peace of mind knowing you and your family are protected. After checking these boxes, you can allocate the remainder of your funds towards vacations, dining out, and anything else that brings you joy. The key is to start now. Go for it!
You wouldn't wait until the morning of a flight to plan a trip.
Don't wait until retirement to make a financial plan.