5 simple strategies for recent college grads struggling to save for retirementSeptember 30, 2016 by Matt Krumrie
We get it. You just graduated from college, and landed that first job. It’s an exciting time.
It’s also expensive.
You have your own apartment now, but rent is a lot higher when not living in that college town, or with fewer roommates to split the costs. Then there is that car payment and car insurance. And you are now paying for health insurance on your own for the first time. Wow, that is expensive, right? Suddenly, that salary you didn’t negotiate suddenly looks a lot smaller after taxes and deductions are taken out.
And let’s not forget those dreaded student loans you are starting to pay back. Those are a real drain, literally and figuratively. Did you borrow money from mom and dad? It might be time to pay them back too. It’s tough. And now that you finally have a job and are making some money, you want to have some fun and spend a little extra, go on a vacation, or splurge on yourself.
Save for retirement? Not now. There’s plenty of time, right? Yes, there is. But trust us, it’s never too soon for recent college grads and Millennials to focus on retirement. That may be the last thing an early-to-mid 20-something is thinking about, especially with so many other expenses.
But…follow the wise advice of professionals.
“With student loan debt and health care costs, many recent college graduates may think they need to defer or limit the amount they save for retirement until they have more money to put towards their retirement savings,” says Joe DeSilva, Senior Vice President/General Manager, ADP Retirement Services.
ADP’s annual study on retirement savings trends shows that employees age 20-24 defer an average of 4.6 percent of their pay into a tax qualified retirement plan, while employees age 55 and older defer an average of 8.5 percent. Yet, the cost of waiting does not add up. Recent graduates should instead start saving as early as possible – even if it is just a small portion of income.
“Being proactive today can reap big rewards tomorrow,” says DeSilva.
Below are four steps recent college graduates can take today to set themselves up for the retirement they want tomorrow:
1. Don’t wait to save until all your college loans are paid off: Save now to take advantage of compound earnings. If you wait even 10 years to start contributing to a retirement plan, you could miss out on many thousands of dollars in retirement savings.
2. Actively plan your retirement: Even if a retirement plan is offered by your employer, only you can take charge of your future financial security. Ask your Human Resources department for help in deciphering your benefit options.
3. Maximize your savings early in your career: Choose to have your employer automatically increase your retirement plan contribution every year.
4. Establish good money management habits: Focus on saving, smart budgeting and planning for emergencies. In other words, live only within your means.
While a recent college graduate isn’t likely to accept or move on from a job based on the retirement plan of the employee, it’s best to find an employer who at least offers a company match. That can help motivate recent college grads to start saving because it’s an easy way to start building your retirement base.
“While they may have many decades before retirement, Millennials can benefit from employers who guide them in making smart retirement savings choices now, at the beginning of their careers,” says DeSilva.
It’s never too early to start saving for retirement, even for recent college grads, entry-level employees and Millennials at all stages of their professional career.
Want to learn more about how to save money for retirement while managing the start of your professional career? Then stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
About Joe DeSilva
Joe DeSilva is Senior Vice President and General Manager of ADP’s Retirement Services business unit, which serves a national client base of small, medium and Fortune 500 businesses. He is responsible for setting the strategy and overseeing the day-to-day operations of the business, which includes Sales, Marketing, Product, Development, Service and Operations functions.
The views expressed herein are those of the author, are intended for general information only and are not intended to provide investment, financial, tax or legal advice or a recommendation for any particular situation or plan. ADP, LLC and its affiliates (ADP) do not endorse or recommend specific investment companies or products, financial advisors or service providers; engage or compensate any financial advisors to provide advice to plans or participants; offer financial, investment, tax or legal advice or management services; or serve in a fiduciary capacity with respect to retirement plans. Nothing herein is intended to be, nor should be construed as, advice or a recommendation for a particular situation or plan. Please consult with your own advisors for such advice.
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