The best time to start thinking about retirement is now, while we are still young. Remember compound interest is our best friend in this high stakes game of retirement russian roulett. The longer and more ways our money can grow the sooner we can retire and hopefully live as we choose.
I talk a lot about savings; savings for short term, medium, and long range goals. Of course this would be a long term goal, to retire...one day. The typical retirement age is 65, I don't know about you but I don't want to be sitting at someone else's desk, doing someone else's work at 55, 60, or 65.
When I first got into personal finance, I spent a lot of time thinking about retirement. At first, "experts" were saying a million would get you by in retirement. I don't even know how many millions "they" say now. But all I know is to be able to retire, I have a long way to go - not just in terms of years, but money. I know I am not using my resources as I should be, but the first steps in saving for retirement is to pay off/down debt. Once you have this "extra" money from the debts, you can funnel it into retirement accounts.
If your company offers a 401(k) match try to at least meet that, even if you are paying down debt. It's like free money. Then once you are able you can open a Roth IRA to personally fund your retirement. The key is to be able to put away as much as possible, as early as possible. Remember, compund interest...
The Yahoo! article found that people who are able to successfully retire early (or at all) have these charaistics:
1. Save for retirement outside of just their workplace plan: 69% of early retirees do this vs. 60% of those who plan to retire after 65 and 49% of those who say they'll never retire.
2. Defer a high percentage of their salary into a retirement plan: Early retirees defer a median of 10% vs. 6% for those who plan to retire after 65 or don't plan to retire.
3. Start saving at a younger age: The median age early retirees begin saving is 25 vs. 30 for those who will retire after 65 and 31 for those who never plan to retire.
4. Have a thought-out retirement savings strategy: 71% of early retirees have either a written plan (16%) or a non-written plan (55%), while just over half of those who plan to retire after 65 do and just one-third of those who will never retire do.
5. Be very involved in managing and monitoring their retirement accounts: 71% of early retirees say they are very involved vs. 58% of those who will retire after 65 and just 45% of those who say they will never retire.
6. Have saved the same amount or more since the recession began: 71% of early retirees are doing this compared to 61% of those who will retire after 65 and just over half of those who never plan to retire.