By K. Bridget Schneider, CFP®, CRPC®
As I was reviewing my finances the other day, I thought about how hard it was to start saving when I got my first full-time job, yet how far I have come since then. Even back then I knew that I should save 10% of my earnings, but I had so many things that seemed to take priority that I can honestly say it was a while before I reached that level. There was a student loan payment, housing expense, car payment, gas, clothing, food, fun. The list went on and on. But by taking advantage of small opportunities I managed to save a little here and there. Before I knew it, my savings began to grow.
One of the things that helped me the most was putting a set amount into a retirement plan. It wasn’t much, but my employer matched my contributions and that provided an incentive. I didn’t think much about it at the time because it was a small percentage of my income and the balance of that account was so modest.
An area I really struggled with was my emergency fund savings. It seemed like every time I got the balance where I wanted it, I would have to draw it out for an unexpected event. The next several months would be spent building it back up only to repeat the cycle the next time life threw me a curveball.
So, you can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was when I noticed how that retirement plan had grown. It really wasn’t a substantial amount, but I couldn’t get at those funds for life’s little emergencies, and the balances reflected that. It gave me the motivation to try to find ways to increase what I was contributing.
But that was easier said than done. There were changes of employment, changes in retirement savings options, and there was lots of misinformation along the way. As I reflect on my financial journey, I often wonder where I would be if I had worked with a financial planner during those early years. A financial planner helps an individual or family find ways to save and offers suggestions to keep them from losing progress when life’s emergencies occur.
So why am I sharing this? My story isn’t much different from the young adults of this generation and I want to encourage them in their financial journey. Millennials today have a similar picture. They may have student loan payments of several hundred dollars a month while trying to keep a roof over their heads and still enjoy life. They are changing jobs more frequently and that can mean changes to benefits including retirement savings plans. It is a complicated world.
That’s where our financial advisors may be of service. We can be your financial guide and ally to help with those financial decisions. Let us help make sense of your financial life. We offer retirement plan consultation as well as financial planning. Visit our website today, or click here to schedule an initial meeting or call with us.
Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the techniques and strategies discussed will yield positive outcomes.