How to balance saving for retirement with other savings goals
Juggling financial priorities isn’t easy, regardless of where you are in your career. Competition for your hard-earned dollars often comes down to:
- Paying the mortgage
- The cost of raising children
- Rising cost of living
- Saving for college tuition
Thinking about how to implement a retirement savings plan into your life can be challenging. Although you may get discouraged, don’t sit back and wait.
If you can’t put aside a large amount of money right now, save whatever you can—try $75 or $150 a month if you can. Longtime investors know that the amount of time you have your money invested can be more powerful than the actual amount you save. By saving what you can now, you are putting your money to work sooner rather than later.
Do the Math
Retirement income looks different for everyone. For some people, a PERA monthly benefit check accounts for a large percentage of total retirement income. But not everybody spends a career in public service. You might have savings or a pension from another job, or maybe you’ll collect Social Security. Even if you do plan to rely on a pension to support most of your income in retirement, many people choose to save more to increase their spending power.
You can see what your pension might provide in retirement by logging into your PERA account. There, you can also use PERA’s retirement calculators to try some different scenarios (what if you stay in your job for another 10 years? What about another 15?). Compare the amounts you see with the income you think you’ll need to support the lifestyle you hope for. If there’s a difference between the two numbers, you can fill it by saving and investing in a retirement account, such as the PERAPlus 401(k) or 457 Plan.
Accept the Ebbs and Flows
Mirroring life, your household budget will not be a straight line throughout your life. Some years you’ll have little excess cash, and in other years you might have more flexibility. Understanding this is important. It’s OK if you need to lower the amount you save to make way for other important priorities.
If you need help getting started, PERA hosts PERAPlus webinars that covers how simple it is to save additional money for retirement.