So in following up to my post yesterday about noticing a decline in the economy through my retirement account, what I didn’t mention was how happy I am to actually see that account reach above $50,000.
The thing is, I didn’t have that five years ago. Five years ago I was about to loose my job and up to my ears in credit card debt for the first time in my life.
What have I done since then to turn things around?
Two simple things.
1) I’ve lived within my means.
2) I’ve saved everything else.
In that first year it meant paying off $13k in credit card debt, within a year, when I was only making $35k gross. So when I say that I was saving everything else, I really mean it.
I’ve also worked very hard in my career to get regular pay raises that allow for the extra income. With each pay raise I just pretend it’s not there, and simply save it.
$16k of the $50k was also contributed by my employer. This is another reason to pay attention to what the retirement package is.
I didn’t actually start putting money into my retirement until my credit card was fully paid off at the beginning of 2005. Then I just added a bit more at a time until I was able to max out on retirement contributions for the first time last year.
My point is, just because you don’t have much put away today, doesn’t mean you can’t start now. It is within most American’s means to put away more than they do today. That may be harder with prices going up, but it is achievable.
Sure, there are those who would rather spend it today, and that is fine. But I’d rather be able to work to achieve my dreams. If you really think about it you likely would too.
For those who are just starting out, ING has a ROTH IRA program that lets you start building an account with as little as $25 a month. You really can’t beat that.
If you are interested in saving, but haven’t gotten around to it. Start now. If you already are putting away, challenge yourself to save just a bit more.