This is a question we hear all the time from our clients, especially those who still have another 20+ years until retirement. The further away retirement is, the more obscure of a concept it is and the harder it is to prioritize retirement savings.

Below we’ve outlined some general guidance on how to start thinking about retirement savings – however, we should mention that this consideration is something that will be unique to each person’s situation.

 Step 1 – Start saving 

Even if it doesn’t seem doable, find a way to put something away. If you are just starting out, then, in general, you will likely need to save at least 10-15% of your income toward retirement in order to have enough money so that you don’t have to take a significant cut in your lifestyle at retirement or have to work into your 70’s. 10-15% may seem like a lot, but this percentage will only increase with every year you wait to save.

 Step 2 – Prioritize

Before increasing retirement contributions further, you will want to make sure you aren’t going to put yourself into debt by doing so.

Make sure you have a plan for paying off high-interest debts (we’re mainly talking about credit cards here) and have some cushion built up in your savings so that an emergency doesn’t send you into debt.

Review how you are spending money to balance out your needs, wants, and retirement savings goals.

 Step 3 – Set triggers to re-evaluate and increase!

Setting up how much you are saving for retirement should not be a one-time event. Make sure to review how much you are saving at least once or twice per year and try to increase it, even if it is only by a small amount each time. Use different events as triggers to remind yourself to increase savings. These triggering events could be things like every year at tax time, every January at the start of a new year, anytime you pay off a debt, or anytime you receive a raise or bonus.

Questions? You can schedule a free meeting with one of our planners to discuss your situation and discover if planning is appropriate at this stage in your life. To set up your meeting, please visit www.seedpg.com/contact today


Amy Michaels is a Partner and Financial Planner at S.E.E.D Planning Group. She holds the CFP® (CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™) designation and oversees all of S.E.E.D.’s  Financial Planning Programs. She created the Sprout program in order to help young people have better conversations about money and finances.

S.E.E.D. Planning Group LLC (S.E.E.D.)is a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) with the SEC. S.E.E.D.’s team provides investment fiduciary and financial planning services to clients. Our fees are disclosed, easy to understand, and not predicated on product sales.