Millennials: Start Saving for Your Retirement Today!

A jar with money in it. The jar is labeled "retirement."

Photo credit: Tax Credits at Flickr Creative Commons.

Millennials are in an ideal position to get started on retirement planning because the monies they set aside and invest now will grow over time. But starting now is the key.

Starting a savings plan as early as possible will enable Millennials to put aside small amounts of money each month. The smaller amounts are easier to budget for, and the longer the money is invested, the more time it has to grow into enough for a comfortable retirement. Many experts believe that the amount of money needed to retire is in the range of approximately $1 million.

Unfortunately, many Millennials postpone setting aside savings because many already have financial burdens like student loans or credit card debt. Additionally, they often lack access to 401(k) or similar retirement plans if they work seasonal jobs, are employed part-time, are self-employed, or work at small businesses that don’t offer 401(k) options.

In fact, many Millennials haven’t begun saving for retirement yet. A Wells Fargo survey identified that a full 41% of Millennials have not yet started saving for retirement. Some believe it’s fair to assume the percentage of non-savers would be even higher if they included unemployed Millennials in their survey.

There are a variety of reasons Millennials are holding out when it comes to planning ahead. For example, some have just started working or have irregular incomes, so emergency funds are more critical than retirement funds at the moment.

Women find it especially difficult to find the extra money to put aside due to the gender pay gap. In the Wells Fargo survey, women reported median personal income of $28,800 versus the $39,100 earned by men. It’s not surprising then that more women than men (54% to 43%) said they’re living paycheck-to-paycheck.

And the feeling of scarcity isn’t just gender-based: according to the survey, 64% of the Millennials said they would never accumulate $1 million in savings over their lifetime (though it’s worth noting that 73% of the total women surveyed felt this way).

There are a few steps Millennials can take to invest wisely and make the most of their 401(k)s. First, the recent Mobile Millennials survey from Retirement Clearinghouse found that, when changing jobs, 34% of Millennials cashed out of their 401(k)s at least once. Many experts suggest, however, that a 401(k) should be your last resort to cash out on for any reason. Better to find that cash you need elsewhere.

The Wells Fargo survey also reported that 44% who’ve started saving are only putting away 1-5% of their income—quite a small amount when considering your financial future. Wells Fargo advised that a target of 10% would be a better goal, if possible.

Educating Millennials on their finances is another important step. In the Wells Fargo survey, 35% of Millennials said they didn’t know enough about IRAs to consider them. Since IRAs and 401(k)s have nuances that only a financial advisor can really explain, it’s best to consult one in order to best understand the options for each individual.

Millennials come from a variety of financial backgrounds, and each has their own unique situation when it comes to saving for the future. Still, it’s important across the board for Millennials—and for every generation—to take a good, long look at best practices to ensure that retirement is something everyone can look forward to—not dread.

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The Bloomberg Business Summit 2013 Speakers Announced

Chicago

IMG: via Shutterstock

The annual Bloomberg Business Summit brings together some of the most bright minds and influential people from around the world to discuss vital issues facing multinational corporations in 2014. This list includes more than 250 CEOs, senior executives, and public sector officials and thought leaders. This year the summit is being held at the Art Institute of Chicago in November. While this date is a ways off, the list of speakers was just announced and is getting quite a bit of buzz.

So far, the most prominent and well known people announced have been:

  • Barry Diller: Chairman and Senior Executive, IAC; Chairman and Senior Executive, Expedia
  • Paul E. Jacobs, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Qualcomm Incorporated
  • John G. Stumpf, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Wells Fargo & Company
  • Henry Kravis & George R Roberts, Co-Founders, Co-Chairmen and Co-Chief Executive Officers, KKR
  • Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive Officer, WPP Group
  • Karen W. Katz, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Neiman Marcus Group, Inc.

Bloomberg Business Summit’s overview states that, “Nearly every major industry is somehow undergoing significant transformation. For the developed world, it creates a disadvantage for decades and sometimes centuries old corporations. In the developing world it has spawned a new crop of global competitors free of legacy processes and philosophies. The Bloomberg Business Summit will look at how some of the world’s biggest industries are changing and the forces at work behind the change.”

To join the conversation on Twitter, tweet with the hashtag “#Bsummit.”

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