Whether you’re 25 years old or 50 years old, you should always have retirement on your mind. Now, the things that are actually running through your mind won’t be the same at both of those ages. At 25 years old, you’re probably just starting to put money into your 401(k) and are probably more concerned about paying rent and bills than you are retiring. After all, you have pretty much your whole life ahead of you. However, when you’re 50, the thought of retirement hits different — you start to think about where you want to retire, when you want to retire, and how you’re going to be able to retire.
Here’s the thing — you shouldn’t wait until you’re 50 years old to truly start thinking about retirement. While nobody (and especially not yourself) should expect you to know your exact retirement plan at a young age, you’ll thank yourself later in life that you started prioritizing your post-work lifestyle early on. But there are plenty of things to start doing and thinking about that will benefit you later on in life.
If you have a job, it’s likely that your company also contributes to your retirement savings plan. If this is the case, take full advantage of this benefit. If your company matches whatever you put into your retirement plan, you should put as much in every pay period as possible. Even if your company doesn’t contribute (or contributes very little), every little bit that you contribute yourself helps. A one or two percent difference in contribution may not seem a lot month-to-month, however, after 30 years, that amount grows significantly.
As a young professional, you may also want to start thinking about the type of lifestyle you may want when you retire. If you want to spend less on where you live and settle down in a city that won’t break your retirement savings, you can do that. Living in a city that’s affordable for retirement will allow you to spend more money on other things such as yourself or your family. If you want to live somewhere more lavish (like in a luxury retirement community), you can do that as well — just expect much higher living costs.
Of course, all of this depends on how much you have saved for retirement. If you have an extremely high paying job, chances are you’ll have much more in savings than someone with a lower-paying job. Despite this, your choices are what is going to determine how retirement is going to be for you. If you make six figures but barely put anything into your retirement fund, you’re going to be in for a real surprise when your spending habits don’t support you long term.
Getting into the mindset of retirement truly does wonders, and it shouldn’t be left until it’s necessary. As a young professional, you should always be investing in your future self. Thinking about savings, retirement, and other things like that can only help you, even if you don’t make any concrete actions to retire until you’re older. Also, educate yourself — the more you learn about retirement, the easier the process will be for you. There are plenty of resources to guide you through your career towards retirement, so don’t hesitate to use them.