10 Minutes to Kickstart Your Retirement Savings Plan

We understand that saving for retirement and planning for it can seem like a lot of work. But that is something we want to alter. Because you have the ability to begin constructing a future that you can be truly excited about right now. Whether it's retiring early and exploring the world, climbing the corporate ladder till you reach the top (possibly cracking a glass ceiling along the way), or looking forward to tranquil days with your loved ones close by, there's something for everyone. Even if you're not convinced, you may start taking little efforts now to put yourself on the road to financial independence. To get started, all you need is 10 minutes and these four steps.

Visualize the possibilities for 4 minutes.

It's time to envision, so grab a pen and paper, put on a wonderful song, or simply close your eyes. Take four minutes (or more if you wish) to consider what you want your retirement life to be like. When would you like to retire? What city would you like to reside in? What types of hobbies do you want to try? Feel free to scribble down phrases, thoughts, or even doodles as you ponder — and, more importantly, don't be scared to dream large.

When it comes to setting and achieving objectives, visualization is a valuable tool. You can cultivate motivation from within by visualizing what you want and envisioning yourself attaining these goals.

Set some goals in 3 minutes.

Prepare to create goals with the idea of your amazing retirement life in mind. Begin by writing down one or two financial or retirement goals in about three minutes. They can be more immediate, such as a target amount of retirement savings for the coming year. You might also select a longer-term goal, such as purchasing a vacation home in 10 years or retiring at 45. In either case, putting pen to paper will provide you (and your financial future) with a structure to work with.

You can add new goals to your list as time goes on, as well as adjust and polish the ones you already have. You could even construct your own (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely). And by having them written down, you’ll always have a reference point you can return to if you need motivation.

Face your fears for 2 minutes.

Maybe you haven't started putting money aside for retirement yet. You may perhaps believe you can accomplish more but are unsure where to begin. A lot of questions or anxieties may be holding you back, ranging from investing doubts to budget concerns to basic curiosity about why, when, and how much you should save for your golden years. Now is the time to let them free.

Consider what's holding you from saving for retirement for two minutes. It's a judgement-free zone, so be honest with yourself. You'll be able to find the answers you need to feel confident in your money if you recognize and write down your questions or concerns.

Calculate your current retirement status in one minute.

Clearly, you're thinking about starting to save for retirement. However, in order to develop a prudent savings plan, you must first determine where you stand now in regard to your planned retirement age.

100 Steps Closer, 10 Minutes Down

You don't have to start by restructuring your budget or spending hours mapping out a strategy to prepare for retirement. All you have to do now is make the decision to get serious about saving. And you're already far closer than you were before simply taking 10 minutes to go through your goals and address the worries or doubts that have hindered you from starting in the past.

10 Ways to Start Saving for Retirement

You may have heard that saving for retirement is similar to running a marathon or climbing a mountain — a feat that takes extensive preparation and dedication. However, this might be a challenging task. It's more like learning a new skill, such as playing an instrument. It's about being consistent and diligent over a long period of time with little, regular efforts. While you may not notice significant improvements on a daily basis, you are always progressing.

To learn how to play the piano, you must first sit down and begin playing. You simply begin saving to develop a nest egg. If you're not sure where to start, try one of these 10 ideas to get your retirement planning off on the right foot.

1. Look for a potential employer match.

An employee-sponsored retirement plan, such as a 401(k), is one of the finest methods to accumulate retirement savings, especially if your company matches your contributions, which is practically free money into your retirement fund. If your workplace offers this benefit, start by donating enough to take advantage of the complete match, so you don't miss out on any money.

2. Open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

If your employer doesn't provide any kind of match or retirement plan, you'll want to open a tax-advantaged retirement account, such as an IRA. Your money grows tax-deferred in a traditional IRA, which means you only pay taxes on it when you withdraw it during retirement. You contribute after-tax cash to a Roth IRA, and it grows tax-free. Opening a tax-advantaged retirement account, regardless of which option you pick, is a wise first step in getting serious about saving for your senior years.

3. Make a strategy for asset allocation.

If you don't know where to start, putting together an investment portfolio might be difficult. However, thinking through your stock and bond portfolio is a smart approach to get some direction, and the Rule of 110 is an excellent place to start. All you have to do using this method is subtract your age from 110. The resulting value represents the percentage of your portfolio that should be allocated to equities and ETFs. The rest of the money should be put into more cautious investments like bonds.

4. Put your funds on autopilot.

A saver's best friend is automation. You won't have to worry about remembering to put money down for retirement if you set up a direct payment into your retirement account. Furthermore, you eliminate the mental component (which, let's face it, can be a savings hurdle) of having to move money from checking to saves on your own, making it even easier to build your retirement fund.

5. Begin small and devise a strategy for expansion.

One retirement rule of thumb is to set aside 10 to 15% of your pre-tax income each year, although this should be viewed as a goal rather than a starting point. Instead, start with a manageable percentage (and if you have an employer match, a contribution that takes advantage of that is a smart starting point). Then, every year, attempt to increase your contribution by 1 or 2 percent until you reach 15%.

6. Invest any extra cash in your retirement.

Money you get as a salary bonus, a tax return, or a gift is ideal for putting into your retirement account. Why? Because you won't miss the money if it's in savings if it's not money you regularly live on. Windfall money is a terrific way to enhance your savings account, and you'll be pleased you did once you see the power of compounding in action over time.

7. Set aside a portion of your raises for retirement.

Putting fresh money into a retirement fund (whether it's an IRA or another type of savings account) is a good strategy to ensure that your contributions keep growing without affecting your lifestyle. And, like windfall money, you won't even realize it's missing from your bank account.

8. Re-evaluate your financial situation.

If you wish to start saving for retirement or boost your contribution but don't foresee any income changes in the near future, you may need to revise your budget to find money for savings. This may necessitate a minor lifestyle change, but even putting aside $25 or $50 each month for retirement is a good start.

9. Pay off your credit card debt.

When you have high-interest debt, such as credit card debt, saving for retirement can seem impossible. While you can save money and pay off debt at the same time, it's probably a better idea to prioritise paying off high-interest debt before increasing your retirement savings. Then, once you've paid off any high-interest debt, you can put the money you used to pay off your credit cards toward retirement. Not only will you have more money to save, but you'll also benefit from the psychological lift that comes with letting go of the financial stress that debt may bring.

10. Take use of a robo-advisor.

You don't have to go it alone if you're investing for the first time, such as in an IRA. Consider hiring a robo-advisor to assist you. With an Ally Invest Robo Portfolio, you'll get the help of human professionals and cutting-edge robo technology to help you construct and manage a diversified portfolio. All you have to do is make contributions, and we'll make sure your IRA assets are aligned with your objectives.

You will not be sorry for not saving sooner.

You don't have to conquer an insurmountable mountain to save for retirement. You don't have to win a lengthy, meandering race. It's a long-term process that requires patience and tiny, consistent donations — week after week or month after month. You're on the right route to mastering retirement savings if you have the determination to get started.