With a confused glance and furrowed eyebrows my friend leaned in and asked, “Wait, you’re already saving for retirement?”. For many 20-somethings this thought isn’t uncommon – why save for retirement when we have so many other things going on in life? Paying for college, traveling the world and just trying keep your car running all seem to be significantly more important than putting money in some account that you’re probably not going to touch for 30-plus years.
Retirement is likely a long way off, literally decades – you might as well be planning your death (sounds like a life insurance discussion – we’ll get to that another time). We barely want to make plans for the coming weekend on a Tuesday just in case something better comes up, you think we want to start saving for retirement when we could go to Europe this summer instead? Instagram pics of a trip to Europe is a lot cooler than pictures of saving for retirement, and come to think of it, I don’t even know what that would look like.
Saving for retirement sounds pretty lame, but honestly, it’s lame if you don’t do it. Many people saw that crazy Shia Labeouf video of him screaming “Just do it” at the camera, but sometimes that’s the attitude it takes. For most people, saving for retirement is being the tortoise, not the hare, and as young people we need to realize it takes short-term decisions for long-term results – if you haven’t started yet, decide now to invest $20 a month into a retirement account. There is nothing quick about saving for retirement, it takes time, money and diligence to stay focused on such a prolonged goal, but time and time again we have seen retirees experience the rewards of their persistent saving.
Maybe someday saving for retirement will be cool in your 20’s, but until then – who cares, start saving now and investing in your future. Ferris Buhler once said, “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Don’t miss the opportunity to start saving while you’re still young – time is on your side.