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How to Start Saving For Retirement

4 Tips to Help Young Professionals Jump-Start Retirement Savings

When you're just starting out at a new job, the last thing you're thinking about is planning for your retirement. But as we all know, the earlier you start saving, the better your retirement years will be. So take note of these tips from Mint about how to start saving for retirement right now.

You're twenty-something.You're a recent college grad or a few years into building your career. You juggle bills, possibly face student loan debt, look for work-life balance and don't have time to be bothered by retirement planning. Wrong! While decades away, now is the perfect time for young professionals to start planning for retirement. Saving money now will help you enjoy and afford the golden years. Free personal finance tools like Mint.com will help you track spending, review all your monthly expenses and see what can be cut so you can start saving now!

Getting started is easy. Here are four tips to jumpstart your retirement savings when you're young:

A little money now can be a lot of money later. Start saving money now to allow it to accrue and grow by your golden years. For example, setting aside $4,000 per year starting in your 20s could make you a millionaire by 62, assuming an average annual return of 8%.

Investing doesn't have to be scary. Investing can seem daunting, but personal finance tools can help you identify easy ways to invest your money that's in-line with your budget. Tap into online resources or certified financial planners to help guide you. Don't think you have to know every up and coming or edgy mutual fund and asset class out there. Even "safe" investments like bonds or money market accounts will add significantly to your retirement nest egg.

Don't say no to company matches! If your company matches contributions to your 401(k), you're foolish not to take them up on the offer. That's free money. The one caveat you need to consider is the vesting period. The money that you personally put into your 401(k) is yours but some companies set a vesting schedule, which means the match will be earned over time (25% after one year, 50% after two, etc.) But for those companies that vest immediately, it's a no-brainer. If your employer offers a Roth 401(k), your contributions are made with after-tax dollars, meaning withdrawals in retirement will not be taxed at all.

Stop the excuses. Debt and fixed expenses can make it challenging to save for retirement. The key is to bite the bullet, be mindful of discretionary spending and create a strict budget that allows you to plan for the present and save for your future. Also, check whether refinancing your loans will give you a financial advantage. Any surplus of cash you get from these efforts, stash it away for retirement. Don't look at retirement planning as a deprivation today, but rather, a positive investment for tomorrow.

— Holly Perez, Consumer Money Expert at Intuit and Mint.com Spokeswoman

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