Are you at or approaching age 30? Are you wondering if you're saving enough for retirement? Because personal finance is truly personal and no two investors are alike, it's difficult to pinpoint where you should be by the time you're in your 30s.
In addition to your salary range and the number of years you have been in the workforce, other factors such as being a working student and having to pay down high-interest consumer debts can also affect how much you've been able to save up to this point in your life.
So how much should you have saved for retirement by the time your 30? Assuming you have been working since you were age 22, a good benchmark would be to have somewhere around one year's salary saved. For some people that can be a challenge, especially if in your 20s you worked for lower wages, held several jobs, or worked for an employer who didn't offer a 401(k) plan with a match.
The positive news is that even if you fell short of being able to save as much as you would have liked in your 20s, it's never too late to start saving.
If you're still paying off debt and have yet to establish a retirement fund:
- If a 401(k) is available, find out what the maximum amount your employer requires you to contribute in order to qualify for a 401(k) employer match and take advantage of the extra savings.
- If you're employer offers a 401(k) but with no employer match, then try to contribute as much as you can to make more significant contributions.
Once you begin to earn more, pay down debt, and have set aside an emergency fund:
- Consider increasing any 401(k) contributions as much as your budget and contribution limits allow.
- Research opening a Roth IRA in addition to your 401(k) plan.
These may seem like simple 401(k) savings tips, but the reality is that there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer or specific chart for saving by age groups that you should follow. Everyone's goals and financial situations are different and simply contain too many variables for a single, hard and fast rule to be applicable.
However, regardless if you're reading this article as a twenty-something or thirty-something (or just about any other age group), there are some good rules of thumb that just about everyone can benefit from. They include:
- Taking advantage of employer matching
- Paying off high-interest debt
- Opening a Roth IRA
- Establishing an emergency fund
- Staying on top of your finances by creating a budget
- Increasing your 401(k) contributions as you begin to earn more
- Making your contributions automatic and sticking to a consistent and regular process of saving
Retirement may be 30 plus years in the future, but unless you want to work forever, you need to look at every single dollar saved as one dollar that goes towards your retirement. If you want to read more about planning for retirement or even early retirement, visit the Protective Learning Center.