Typically, younger people don’t make retirement savings a priority. Living expenses, student debt, rent or house payments, and other day-to-day expenses mean that retirement savings take a back seat. In fact, a Franklin Templeton Investments survey from January 2016 says that 40 percent of millennials don’t have a retirement plan in place, and 57 percent haven’t started saving.1 That attitude, however, will make it much more difficult to have a secure retirement later, though, according to seasoned pension consulting practitioners.
The main thing that millennials are sacrificing by not saving now is time. Time allows funds to grow through compounding, and that can turn relatively modest savings into much larger nest eggs. For example, saving $50 each month in a retirement account earning 6.5 percent annually and compounded monthly would generate retirement savings of $226,781 over 50 years. A millennial who starts saving the same amount 30 years later, allowing it to only compound for 20 years, would have only $24,525 at the end of the 20 years.2
And $50 each month isn’t a huge amount, even for a cash-strapped millennial. Some other retirement savings tips include:
- Take full advantage of employer-sponsored retirement plans, like 401(k) or 403(b) plans. Funds contributed to these tax-advantaged programs grow free of taxes, which means more money stays in the account to generate interest.
- Contribute at least as much as your employer is willing to match. If your employer matches three percent of your salary, you should start by contributing that much.
- Otherwise, you’re “leaving money on the table.” Your employer match instantly increases your contribution, and your money grows faster.
- Don’t worry about not being an investment expert. Many retirement plans now offer target-date funds (TDFs). Also known as lifecycle or age-based funds, TDFs automatically adjust your investment assets as you age, so you don’t need to balance your funds yourself.
One common objection millennials have about contributing to an employer-based retirement fund is that they may not stay with that employer. Actually, very few people stay with a single employer for their entire careers, and retirement plan fund can be rolled over into a new employer’s plan or rolled over into an IRA if you leave your job.
FiduciaryFirst is a pension consulting company that works with retirement plan sponsors to encourage their employees to participate in retirement plans. We rely on The Participant EffectSM, a dynamic program that uses behavioral finance to identify reasons that workers don’t save for retirement, and turn those weaknesses into strengths. For more information, contact us at 866-625-4611.
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This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal or investment advice. If you are seeking investment advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained on your own separate from this educational material.
The target date is the approximate date when investors plan to start withdrawing their money. The principal value of a target fund is not guaranteed at any time, including at the target date. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.