4 Retirement Planning Moves Every 20-Something Must Make

When you’re in your 20s, retirement seems pretty far in the future. But you might be surprised: The end of your working days isn’t as far away as you think. Even though you’re just starting out in your career, you should be taking important steps now to improve your odds of a financially stable retirement later. (See also: Retirement Planning If You’re Under 30)

Start saving early

Again, you might think as a 20-something that you’re too far away from retirement to worry about it. But saving as early as you can — like, right after you enter the workforce — can pay off big when it’s time to retire.

The easiest way to start saving early for retirement is to take advantage of your employer’s 401(k) plan. This plan allows you to set aside a percentage of each paycheck in a mutual fund. You contribute every week, and thanks to the magic of compounding, your retirement savings will grow more quickly the more you’ve contributed. Your employer may also match up to a certain percentage of your contributions. That’s free money you never want to leave on the table.

The goal, of course, is to have enough money saved that, with the help of other outside income such as Social Security payments, you’ll be able to live a happy and healthy lifestyle after retiring — one in which you won’t have to worry about money.

The faster you start putting money away, the easier it is to reach this goal. Financial analysts say you should put away at least 10 percent of every paycheck for retirement starting in your 20s. If you can put away more, that’s even better. (See also: 5 Dumb 401(k) Mistakes Smart People Make)

Ask for more money

It’s an older study, but 2010 research from Temple and…

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