Now that you have your diploma in hand and the rest of your life staring you in the face take a moment to consider the decisions
you'll make in the next few year. Once you land that first job you'll feel the need to do many things.
Can't wait to do list
- Get your own place.
- Buy a new car.
- Get Married.
- Have kids.
- Buy a house.
Here's a list of things that most people won't be thinking about
Not really thinking about list
- Saving for retirement
- Saving for a house
- Saving for kids college
Now I'm sure your thinking, come on do I really need to worry about retirement at 22? Kids College? That may sound crazy right now
especially if you don't even have a signficant other. I'm going to try and make the case for all of this using some simple math and a
little sound reasoning.
It may seem to be obvious but the sooner you start saving for retirement the better. What isn't obvious is just how much better. The most common way to
invest for retirement is through your companies 401k plan. Most companies will match your contributions up to 4% so if you put 4% they will put another
4% for a grand total of 8%. This is essentially a 4% pay increase that you must wait until your older to withdraw. Another thing to consider is that while they may take 4% out of your gross pay you will only see about a 3% reduction in your after tax take home pay.
Let's talk about the benefits. As a single person who does not own a home you have almost no tax deductions so your 401k contributions will
help you pay less taxes now. The benefits of compound interest also make saving as much as possible in the first few years the smartest thing
you can do. Some examples:
$40,000 starting salary
4% company matching
8% annual return
65 retirement age
|Scenario 1||Scenario 2||Scenario 3
Save 8% from age 22 to 65.
Save 8% from age 25 to 65
Save 8% from age 30 to 65
As you can see starting at age 22 will result in having over double the amount you will have if you wait until you are 30. This could
allow you to retire earlier or to really enjoy life once you do. The thing to understand is that if you let these years go by you can
never get them back. In order to reach that amount of money you would have to save at a very high rate later on in life which could be
very hard to do.
There is an enormous urge to get out on your own and start doing the things you've been thinking about over the last few years. There is
an enormous financial benefit to either living home for a few years or getting a cheap place and maybe a roommate. It is possible to save a
considerable amount of money in those first few years by keeping your living expenses low. This will allow you to create an initial savings fund
that will stay with you your entire life. Many people start out already in debt with student loans or credit card debt and then quickly add on
further by buying a car, a house and getting married. Once you have a house the mortgage and upkeep costs will make it nearly impossible to save
any money and you will pay more in fees and interest if you have no money to put down when you buy a home.
The same is equally true with getting married and having kids. Waiting a few years after you get married before having kids will let you have two
full time incomes with little more than the living expenses of one person. The cost of kids is enormous and most people don't really understand
just how quickly they can get in debt once they have their first child. The money saved in these years will someday let you pay for their first car,
college tuition and wedding without having to take out a loan and make them feel bad about taking the money.
A good suggestion is to open an account for you child's college fund once you find out your pregnant. The amount you save in that 7-8 months
prior to the child being born could grow enough over 18+ years to fully fund their college education.