Millennials, Are You Ready to Retire?

401k savings ira nest eggI fall into the millenial category, those born between 1978-1988. I can honestly say, as I sit here nearing 30, I am NO where near on track for retirement. Hell, I still have almost 100k worth of debt to deal with first. Am I freaking out yet? No. Should I be? Maybe, but I’m not.

According to online retirement calculators, I’ll need about two million dollars to retire (today’s value). The fact is that we’re living longer and thus need more money for retirement. We’re starting our savings later in life with the continuation of further education and, at least in the case of my circle of friends, the entitlement to spend the first few years as a grown up travelling. Before ”settling down” my friends feel the need to travel the world. Though I don’t disagree with travelling and experiences, these are things that shouldn’t be done in jeopardy of something else, such as retirement.

We as a society tend to not be proactive about enough things. We don’t see the doctor until we’re in pain and unfortunately often don’t think about retirement until it’s too late sometimes, forcing us to work well into our 70’s and beyond.

Why I’m not freaking out

Both myself and my husband have good careers. A huge part of our debt is because I pursued a second degree. A degree that granted me a job with many opportunities. Opportunity to grow in many professional directions from clinical work to government to self employment. Point being, I have a secure job. Though the second degree cost me a lot of money, I have a stable career that I love and have been granted a well-paying job that I couldn’t have got with my undergraduate degree. My debt was worth it.

In about five years, my husband and I will be in our early to mid 30’s and just beginning to seriously invest for our retirement. At this point of our lives (non-mortgage debt free) we will be able to save a substantial amount of money for our retirement. I’d like to think we can make up for the gap of not saving. We also have some money in the form of forced government pension plan contributions being a Canadian citizen. Though it won’t be enough to retire off of, come 65 it will help for sure.

Should you be worried?

That depends. If you haven’t started saving but will be, and are confident that you’ll be able to make up for lost time such as myself, then no, I wouldn’t worry yet. As long as you have a concrete plan in place. If, however you’re fumbling your way through life and haven’t figured out what you’re going to do, you need to make a plan as soon as possible!

Paying off any non-mortgage debt should be your first priority following quickly by retirement plans. Saving for retirement is something that will require homework and likely some professional advice as well. I can’t tell you exactly what you’ll need or how to start since all situations will be different so talk to someone who can help you. Just do something!

Are you on track to have an enjoyable retirement?

About Catherine MacLean

Comments

  1. I’m in my first job out of college and my supervisor was on me EVERYDAY about saving for retirement. That was the best advice anyone could have given me.

  2. My wife and I are one track for retirement. We make it a priority to save as much as we can for it. We have little debt and like to travel but we travel with whatever is left over afterwards, not the other way around. We do this because when we are old, we want to be comfortable. We don’t want to be worried where we are going to get the money for groceries or the electric bill.

  3. We’re doing ok so far. That decade from 25-35 is one of the biggest transition ones though, so I wouldn’t be down if you’re in the 1988 range… I was born in 1978. Ten years ago I had some significant debt and was JUST ABOUT to go 800,000 into debt for a multi-family brownstone in Boston. If I could ninja kick younger me out of buying it I would. But the last decade has transformed everything… and we finally sold the place for a nice profit after some stressful years. At 35 you’ll have some more years to turn from owing to owning – especially if you continue to focus on it.

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