If you are asking, “When should I start saving for my retirement?” my answer would be, “You are already too late!” While you can take steps to catch up, the reality is that you simply cannot begin saving too soon.
My daughter just finished college and got her first job, I told her that she will be well served by participating in her employer’s retirement plan as soon as she qualifies. She is 22 years old and doesn’t really know what she will be when she finishes growing up so establishing good savings habits is sufficient, for the moment. Clearly, at some point she will need to have a plan but that can come in due time.
How much should you save? Well, many employers offer what are called matching contributions – if you save 4% of your pay they may contribute 2% as well. At a minimum, make sure you are taking advantage of your employers match to the fullest extent possible. If you can afford to do more, go for it.
Smaller employers do not always offer retirement plans, in which case, you are on your own. Take advantage of IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts) to begin setting money aside. These retirement savings options may come with tax advantages, which further increase the real rate of return. There are a number of good web sites out on the web to help you get educated on retirement planning; socialsecurity.gov, aarp.org, fidelity.com, and bank web sites are just a few of the places to look. Of course, talking with a Banker is another way to get good information about retirement planning. The keys are to begin saving and educating yourself about retirement.