There's an old saying that you should 'treat your friends and family as though you would die tomorrow, but treat your money as if you would live to be 100'. Yeah, who does that? I've heard some pretty creative excuses over the years about why people are avoiding saving for retirement...especially when they are more than capable of doing so. Quite possibly the best excuse was: 'that's only something that rich, old white guys do.' More on that moronic comment for another day.
Today, I'm here to discuss the most common excuses given for not saving for retirement, and odds are you have used one or more of these in your own planning. Remember, the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem, so do some self-evaluation and then seek solutions. You can do it!
This is the most common excuse for not saving: 'I don't have the money today, so I'll do it tomorrow.' Even if you put away $1 per day, that's $365 per year, and over the course of your career, that's close to $15,000. And quite frankly, at retirement, that's better than '0'. The time value of money is very powerful. When you are actually able to save, consider this...
If you save $1,500 a month from age 25 to age 35, then let that money sit for 30 years until your retirement, you’ll have $1 million.
If you save $1,500 a month from age 45 to age 55, then let that money sit for 10 years until retirement, you’ll have about $370,000.
Don't keep putting it off.
2. Confusion About Where to Begin
It really is a shame that people have confusion about where and when to start saving for retirement. I'll make it simple for you: you're never too young, never too old -- Just. Start. See the previous answer -- even if it's a dollar per day, it's SOMETHING.
3. Poor Cash Management If you make a budget for yourself, everything becomes SO much easier. You may not think you have any money available for retirement, but believe me: you DO. Take a look at where you can spend and cut money before your habits become too ingrained to change.
4. Misconception about being too young to start
It's easy to put off saving, especially when retirement is so far away. When you're younger, there's the need to be and feel carefree. However, before you know it, you'll be married, paying for a house, raising a family, etc. -- then when are you going to save? Putting money away when you're young is perfect because you're not likely to get a chance like this again.
5. College costs
Yeah I get it, you have student loans to pay. Guess what? You won't be paying them forever, and once they end, what will you have for retirement? You shouldn't sacrifice decades of living for 4 years of education. Anything will help so start saving now.
6. Paying off Debt
Continuously paying off debt is a drain on money that you need to live on (and save) now. Be sure to come with strategies that will help you to save money AND pay off debt at the same time. I have shared many articles on GradMoney on how this is not only possible, but needs to be done. Otherwise you'll end up sacrificing your retirement just to have a college degree.
7. Saving for a house Buying a house is quite possibly the largest investment you'll ever make, but it should not be an impediment to your retirement. Equity in your home can help in retirement (through a reverse mortgage) but it should not be something that you rely on for funds.
8. Caring for Aging Parents
This is a reality for lots of us, especially those who need to care for aging parents AND young children at the same time. While it's important to care for your family, you should not neglect your own future because who will be there for you?
9. Not wanting to 'lock up' money in a retirement plan
No such thing as locking money up in a retirement plan -- you can even put that same money in a brokerage account, where you don't even need to leave it alone for years. At least you are saving something, and the more you save up, the more flexible you can be with your life, such as leaving a bad job to do something you love.
Greetings, GradMoney Readers!
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