So you’re not thinking about retirement. Honestly, can’t blame you. Why should you care about Future You? They’ve probably texted your favorite ex, abandoned your gym routine, and started making weird throat-noises in public.
But here’s a truth bomb that Future You should know about:
According to Netflix show Money, Explained which we've probs all seen because content consumption is a #wayoflife, a comfortable middle class retirement will take savings of at least 1 mil.
If that number feels impossible, you’re not alone. A quarter of the entire US workforce has no retirement savings at all.
Totally get that it’s hard enough to get from month to month without some br*nd telling you to become a millionaire. But it’s more possible than you think. Just takes a little bit of planning. Aside from talking to a financial planner, here’s some things you should know to get closer to the magic number by the time you retire (or by the time the world ends) (haha🙃).
When going for the milly, the most important thing isn’t your portfolio. It’s time.
The earlier you start, the easier it gets. That’s because of something called compounding returns which we won’t talk about here because we’re all tired aren't we, but it’s the idea of using your money to make money.
Eg: Assuming a 7% return on stocks, if you save $400 a month from the time you turn 22, you’ll have $1.2 million by the time you hit 65.
That’s a comfy middle class retirement and then some. (Here’s a nifty calculator if you wanna nerd out or find your own number )
$400 is obviously a lot when you’ve just graduated, so don’t stress. Start wherever you can and chip in more when you’re ready to. That said, here’s a few ways to help you get as close to that monthly goal as poss:
If your employer offers a 401k, you should probs take them up on it.
A 401k is basically a retirement account offered by employers that allows you to save money pre-tax. Up to $19,500 a year. You decide how much money you want deducted from each paycheck and boom.
Eg. if you earn $2000 a month and contribute 5%, then $100 magically goes into a retirement account and not your Amazon cart.
What’s cool about 401ks is that the $100 is before tax and the invested money grows tax-free. High five.
Most work places also offer a 401k match where they’ll match your contribution up to a certain amount. Suddenly your $100 each month becomes $200.
And hey - now you’re halfway to the magic $400.
The big one - personal savings
Trying really hard not to sound like a boomer self help book here, but the only person you can really rely on with this stuff is yourself. So personal savings are important.
Do some of these from when you’re 23 to 65, and you’re gonna see some big results.
- Scan your grocery receipts for cash back. Normally amounts to like $5 a week. That’s $11,700 by the time you retire.
- Drive straight past Starbucks 3 times a week. $15, saved. That’s $35,100 in total and you already have more of a personality.
- Stock your freezer with your fav Trader Joe’s $5 meals and eat ‘em when you’re craving take-out. You’ll be saving about $15 a go, AKA $35,100 in the long run (as long as Trader Joes and/or your Pad Thai addiction doesn’t die out).
- Us heroes with periods are really out here paying $6.97 for a box of tampons. Get a mooncup instead. It’s $30. You’re saving the world and $23 a month. That’s $12,435.20 in total. You’re welcome.
- Introverts, cover your eyes. Great, you’re back. You need a roommate. In cities like NY and San Fran, a roommate can save you up to $1000 a month. Do that your whole life (although I think at some point they stop being called roommates) you could rack up $540,000. Read aggressively: FIVE. HUNDRED. AND. FORTY. THOUSAND. DOLLARS. More on it here.
- If you go to 3 social events a week and spend $50 for each one, that’s $600 a month just so you can question whether you really like your friends. Cut it down to 2 and get $112,800 closer to a retirement with more money and less social burnout.
Grocery cashback: $20 a month
Cut back on Starbucks: $20 - $60 a month
Trader Joe vs. takeout twice a month: $30
Mooncup ftw: $23
Ghosting social events x2: $100
= $193 a month
You’re basically at $400 a month.
Obvi everyone is gonna be different, but the point is, it’s not impossible. Even if you can only save a little bit here and there, over 40 years, it all adds up.
So what should I invest my savings in?
First and foremost, be careful. For every dogecoin glory story, there’s a dude on a first date crying into his IPA about his failed portfolio.
For this one we gotta recommend chatting to a financial advisor. Not your gamer friend. Or reddit.
But a pro-tip: Watch those fees. Keep em below .5% if you can. Your investments may go up or down each year, but your fees will be the same.
More math: If you’ve got $100k and pay 1% of fees over 20 years… that equals a ridiculous $85k.
Wrappin' it up
You got this. Honestly, you do. The most important thing is to start taking actions for Future You asap. After all, they are just You but with less (or…...more?) hair.
To get to a $1M portfolio by the time you’re 65 will take a bit of planning, but it’s not so crazy if you learn how to play the game.
Which you will. But seriously: