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Setting your retirement goals

Start saving in your early years for retirement.
Start saving in your early years for retirement. MCT

It’s never too early to start saving for retirement. One of the biggest misconceptions that people in their 20s and 30s have is that retirement is far away and they can postpone saving for it. Every retirement savings plan looks different, but if you’re just starting off, these two questions can get the ball rolling.

When do I want to retire?

There are people who have answered this question with “in my 30s or 40s.” For those people, their savings goals will be much more aggressive. What they pinch in pennies for 20 years in the workforce will hopefully pay off once they hit their goal, but considering the average lifespan is 78 years old, that’s more than 38 years that will require housing, food and comforts.

Take those things into consideration when setting your goal. Whatever age you choose to retire, there will be a gap between that and roughly the age of 80 that you should account for with no active income.

What will my lifestyle be?

Maybe you don’t know yet if you’ll be a cruise connoisseur, an exploring enthusiast or a happy homebody. You don’t necessarily need to decide today, but your current lifestyle can be a relatively good indicator of trends. For instance, if you love being at home on your weekends now, you may not be the kind of person who longs to travel in your old age. But if you do, that may be how you choose to spend your golden years.

Different lifestyles require different saving tactics. Take stock of how your current salary fares, and how much of it you need to live comfortably once it’s gone. Then make a plan to supplement that salary amount each year of your retirement. Need help crunching the numbers? Use an online calculator to set your goals.

If retirement isn’t top of mind in your 20s, you’re not alone. But that doesn’t mean it’s not the right time to start a conversation about it. Take personal inventory of how you spend your money, what your plan includes, and what you want your life to look like. Then, start creating a financial map to help you get there.

Even if it’s only a small amount, any effort put toward your retirement goals can make a big difference in the end. “Future You” will thank you!

Kat’s Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, visit