Never too early to start saving

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Jasmine Sampson

Jsampson3@Radford.Edu

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For many of us college students, preparation for the future and the “real world” consists of going to class, making decent grades, getting internships, and just trying to stay financially afloat.

We seem to have tunnel vision that only allows us to focus on what is going on now up until graduation. When it comes to finances, many of us are just lucky enough to barely survive and have money left over for weekend shenanigans.

Let’s face it… Saving money is not something we are particularly good at. Our tunnel vision makes us focus on the next new thing; the next new thing to spend our limited money on.

We don’t think about how our saving habits (or lack thereof) will affect us in the future or when we reach our retirement years. For many of us, we believe there’s plenty of time to get our retirement finances in order.

News flash, we’re wrong!  The fact of the matter is for the average American, the odds of having enough money in our savings accounts to last our entire retirement period are most definitely not in our favor. According to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, a typical family headed by someone 55-64 years old has only about $104,000 in retirement savings.

That’s supposed to last for 10 or more years?  No way!  In order to combat this problem and alleviate financial woes for the future, we as college students need to be more financially aware and responsible.

We need to start saving and investing NOW so our money has more time to gain interest and create more money for us in our retirement. We want to be able to retire and age in peace, as well as relax and not have financial worry after working 40 or more hours a week for 40 years.

So, what can we do?  We can start off small. Maybe start with saving $20 a month and increasing to $30 and $40 when we start to get the hang of it. Taking these small steps can allow your money to really add up and make a remarkable difference in the long run.

For upcoming graduates in particular, when searching for a job, keep prospective employer’s 401(k) and stock options in mind when deciding where to work. 401(k) programs can be the easiest ways to save and create that “nest egg” that’s necessary to get you through retirement.

Additionally, speaking to financial advisors and investment bankers early in your career can help you get ahead in the saving process. There are many books and websites out there including Ric Edelman’s, “The Truth About Retirement Plans and IRAs” that are very helpful in explaining and breaking down planning strategies and providing beneficial advice.

While it may be hard for us to focus on retirement at such a young age, it is imperative. We must prepare now and make the most of our current savings opportunities so that our education and career efforts don’t ultimately go to waste.

Take a few minutes out of your day to get off of Facebook and Snapchat to do some research for your retirement. Taking advantage of these resources can really make a difference in your future, especially as a senior citizen.