Even before the first paycheck hits from your first full-time job, you should be planning for the day you will receive your last paycheck. I know what you’re thinking, should I be preparing for my retirement now? And the answer is absolute. It’s a better option to contribute money to your companies 401(K) than to do nothing. No 401 (K)? An individual retirement account offers some of the same advantages, but you can open one without employer sponsorship.

Trying to envision life four decades from now is almost impossible, some many variables can occur, family, social security a different job. One thinks you can confirm you will need to look out for yourself. The days of pensions and companies guaranteeing you a safety net are long gone for most industries. It’s basically up to you to secure your retirement fund; time is on your side and money you save today had decades to grow.

Coming out of college and entering the real world for the first time it probably seems like your income is the most you’ve ever had and it’s still not enough. There is a lot of other priorities you have to tend to, student loans, rent, bills. Budgeting helps, keeping track of what’s going in and what’s going out may make it easier for you to set aside $50 a month for retirement small adjustments make a difference in the long run. We often find a use for extra money that’s sitting around saving it will teach you discipline.

Have we convinced you of the importance yet? If so here is a priority list to determine which accounts to use for savings.

  1. Contribute the minimum to get your employer’s full match on your 401(k). This represents a return of up to 100% on your investment. Don’t pass it up.
  2. Consider cutting costs with an IRA. Does an IRA offer lower fees than your employer-sponsored plan? If so, max out this contribution. The limit is $5,500 for people under 50 and $6,500 for people 50 and older.
  3. Return to your 401(k) as needed. If you wish to save still more, max out your 401(k) contribution beyond your employer’s match. The maximum is $18,000 for people under 50 and $24,000 for people 50 and up.
  4. Invest any additional retirement savings in regular taxable accounts. This is an investment vehicle other than a 401(k) or IRA.

Via Nerd Wallet

A good goal is to save 10% to 15% of your gross income, as long as you can afford to save with money leftover or putting yourself in debt save as much as you want! Retirement savings are meant to be locked up for decades if you switch jobs the money in your 401 (K) is something you take with you. If you land a new job you will need to decide what to do with is and the best options are usually to toll it over into your new employers plan or into an IRA these choices usually are determined by fee.

The steps you take now will help your dreams become a reality, its also important to be realistic about what else you would like to save for because retirement isn’t everything. The journey to retirement is a long one save how it makes sense for you.