How to carry your twenties or thirties into retirement

Six (relatively) easy moves to help you save for later
Personal savings
20 or 30 something person looking at tablet next to dog

It’s hard to imagine growing old—or older than we are right now. But, like your parents and grandparents before you, you will likely retire one day. Even if you love working, you just may want the option to do other things and the means to afford those activities.


The best gift you can give your older future self is to regularly set aside some savings for your later years. Your interests may change over the next few decades. You may trade snowboarding for skiing or the other way around. You might go from bird watching to watching major league sports. Who knows? The point is to have the freedom and the funds to spend your time doing what you love—and not be dependent on your children or the government for your basic needs.


Here are a few tips to start helping out your older self, even if you can’t quite picture yourself at retirement age: 

  1. Start early. If you start regularly saving even a small amount in your twenties, compounding interest can help your savings grow over time. Along the way, you’ll gain tax advantages and should benefit from the time value of money--the concept that a dollar invested today will be worth more in the future due to its earning potential. 

  2. Use your company’s 401(k) plan - especially contributing enough to take full advantage of all available employer matching funds. 

  3. If you change employers, roll your 401(k) plan over into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or a 401(k) plan at your new employer. Withdrawing the funds, rather than rolling them over, can result in substantial financial penalties.

  4. If your company doesn’t have a 401(k) plan, you can easily set up an IRA through your bank. You don’t even need a broker. Don’t worry that you’re not an investment expert.

  5. If you go the IRA route, make it easy to pay your future self with regular automated payments to your IRA. This frees you from remembering to pay yourself and ensures that your contributions don’t have to compete with something overtly more appealing in the short term—like a new surfboard, bike or shoes.

  6. Consider a Roth IRA—or a Roth 401(k), if your employer offers it. To learn more, check out our blog on seven things to know about Roth accounts at