When you’re young, it’s easy to think of retirement as some far-off milestone you’ll reach eventually.
But if you ever hope to retire, you’ll need to have money saved up before you can quit working.
The key to making that dream a reality? Start saving right now.
Kimmie Greene, a money expert at Intuit and a spokeswoman for Mint.com, shared an easy-to-understand timeline for saving with CNBC. If you follow her plan, you’ll know exactly how much money you should have set aside at every age in order to have a comfortable retirement.
Greene suggests using this as a roadmap for saving throughout your life:
- In your 20s: Green says you should save 25 percent of your take-home pay, which can include paying off debt.
- By age 30: Try to have your annual salary amount in savings.
- By age 35: Have twice your annual salary amount in savings.
- By age 40: Have three times your annual salary amount in savings.
- By age 50: Have five times your annual salary amount in savings.
- By age 65: Have eight times your annual salary amount in savings.
Your savings can include your own retirement contributions, matching funds from your employer in your 401(k), cash and other investments.
Of course, hopefully your salary will grow as you get older, which means you’ll need to save even more with each year that passes.
You might be wondering how on earth you’ll be able to save this much, but if you start saving early enough, you can rely on the power of compound interest. This is the financial principle that occurs when your interest earnings begin to accrue interest—your money will grow more money.
The earlier you start saving, the better. Your savings will snowball thanks to compound interest.
“While this can sound super daunting today, if you’re putting that money to work starting in your 20s, it’s not as difficult as it sounds,” Greene told CNBC.
Fidelity Investments suggests a similar timeline, though the company recommends having eight times your salary saved by age 60 and 10 times your salary saved by age 67.
No matter which roadmap you follow, the key takeaway is to start saving as soon as possible—even if it’s just a few dollars here and there. You’ll thank yourself later.
A good way to boost your retirement savings today is to pick up a few side gigs. You could become a vehicle inspector, participate in paid research studies or give your feedback to attorneys, just to name a few. Then, funnel all of your earnings from your side job into you retirement account.