Life has a funny way of creeping by before you know it. One moment you feel like you’re just leaving your teenage years, negotiating education and getting your career started, and the next thing you know you’re in your mid 20s or 30s, and you may be considering starting a family and thinking ‘when should I start saving for my retirement?’.

Well, the answer is not some far-away marker in the distant future. The time is now. Your future self is real, and will be here before you know it. You 20s and 30s are the perfect time to ensure that you have enough funds to provide yourself with a comfortable retirement. But how can you think about finishing work when you’re only just getting started in a career? When you could be considering other expenses, such as having children, buying a home, or paying off education tuition fees and loans? Should you be considering high risk strategies such as investing in lithium stock etf?Here are the smart moves you need to make in order to be set up for the future:

Balance Your Savings with Loan Payments

A survey by the Investor Protection Institute found that a third of Millennials are delaying their retirement savings plans in favour of paying off a student loan. But this approach means that you could find yourself not making a start on retirement savings into your 40s. Instead, look into whether you can swap over to an income based repayment plan, which will set a ceiling on your payments of 10% of your income. Then up your 401k contributions until you get a match, as that’s essentially free money you can benefit from. As your post-college earnings rise, step up the debt repayment to get rid of the amount you owe faster.

Ask For A Pay Raise Today

The idea of asking your employer for a raise can be daunting, but even small amounts in your early career add up further down the line, as you can then negotiate from a higher starting position further down the line. What you earn in your first working decade is absolutely crucial. The most growth in wages is typically experienced between the ages of 25 and 35, so a relatively smaller boost at this point is doubly valuable – both as a yearly raise over a lifetime but also as a higher starting point for the next raise. Wait until your annual review, provide solid evidence of the contribution you’ve made to the company’s bottom line and never be afraid to ask. For most companies it’s far cheaper to raise your salary than to recruit again if you leave, especially if you have a solid track record of performance. This extra money will enable you to save more towards your retirement fund.

Keep Fees Low and Interest High

You must also be proactive about shopping the market for the best deals on your savings, and as these shift over time, annually reviewing it to make sure that your accounts are still the best available for your needs. Making sure of low fund expenses when you’re young results in more profit over time of course so find an ultra low cost fund that offers something like 0.2% charges a year and it could add up up to thousands of extra in the long term for a little effort now.

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