• Project your retirement monthly budget. If you know you’ll be debt free, including your mortgage, how much do you think you’ll need to cover your monthly living expenses?
  • Go on line and search for retirement calculators. Simply plug in few pieces of information and Voila! You’ll have your estimated retirement amount. Divide that amount by the years you have left in the working world and you should get your estimated yearly goal for setting money aside. Don’t be overwhelmed if the number seems larger than life! Use it as a motivator to simply do your best. Something is always better than nothing!

Know Your Options

There are few different options for setting retirement funds aside. 401K or 403b are your typical, before tax contributions, and will be taxed on the back end when you are ready to start drawing on your retirement funds. Roth IRA is also an option for those who prefer to contribute after tax money, to avoid paying taxes during the retirement years. Whichever option you choose, here are few ideas to help you start contributing:

  • Check if your employer has a matching plan. If they do, consider contributing at least the percentage your employer offers. That way you’ll get double your money.
  • Do you think you can’t afford to set aside few dollars a week for retirement? Think twice. Track your spending for 30-60 days and you’ll be surprised what you’ll find. Many of us spend money on lunches, coffee, and other entertainment categories. Simply limiting few of those expenses will free up some cash you can put toward retirement.  Remember this proverb: “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has” (Proverbs 21:20).
  • How about those tax returns? If you receive a refund each year, consider setting aside a portion of your refund for retirement.  

Retirement, as we know it today, is a very recent phenomenon. Before 1900’s most people worked until they were physically unable to continue. Family also played a big role in taking care of the elderly or those unable to work due to health factors. There were no national programs, no employer sponsored plans. None.

So consider all of your options. Do what you can. There is really no magic solution. What it takes is knowing where you are today, where you need to be when you reach retirement age, and having a realistic, doable plan broken down into yearly and monthly goals. The rest is execution.

Megan is one of the new additions to the Finicity (provider of Mvelopes and Money4Life Coaching) team. She comes with over 13 years of experience in the Biblical Finances area. Her content has been published by Money Matters, Do Well and Lifeway's More than Living. She is a mom of two young boys, and lives with her husband David in the Atlanta area.

Publication date: May 20, 2013