It sounds easy in theory, but saving for retirement is hard. Most of our needs are immediate so it seems silly to devote resources and money toward needs 10 to 30 to 50 years away.
Building a nest egg for you and your family is harder than just skipping that $4 latte or packing your lunch -- it takes repeatable and systematic habits. One of those good habits is setting up an automatic savings plan. We asked three Motley Fool contributors to give their opinons on this method and how it can help people secure a more comfortable retirement.
Jessica Alling: The most essential step for boosting your retirement savings is making sure you've got the money available in the first place! And as much as we all may hate it, budgeting is at the core of any successful savings plan.
Since expenses vary each month, budgeting can be difficult even if you monitor your habits. One of the easier approaches uses percentages to encompass big expense categories, instead of focusing on each separate expense.
Often called the 50/20/30 rule, this type of budget splits your monthly income into three categories: fixed expenses, financial goals, and flexible spending. Monitoring 20% of your income each month, specifically aimed at financial goals, you're more likely to see opportunities to increase your savings and investment accounts.
Kingkarn Amjaroen: Saving money for retirement can be significantly easier if you follow a very simple set of rules. Building a viable retirement nest egg basically requires only two persistently applied actions: Living below your means and investing money via an automatic savings plan.
In terms of investing money, it is highly advisable to have a certain percentage, say 10%, of your monthly income or paycheck automatically deposited into a savings or retirement account. That way, saving is done on a persistent, conceptual basis, but it doesn't feel like a chore hanging over your head every month.
Automatic monthly savings simplify a retirement strategy, a task which can seem daunting, while investors also benefit from the long-term powers of compounding interest through buying and holding shares of great companies or an index fund. The power of compounding is substantial and should never be underestimated, especially over long time horizons.
Implementing an automatic savings plan is both prudent financial planning and putting retirement savings on auto-pilot.
Anna Wroblewska: I love automation!
Habits are so effective because they don't require thinking, decision-making, or willpower. So, to accomplish anything difficult that normally requires thought and action, automate. Automate everything you possibly can: It's the only way.
I recently read that one way to ensure you're always saving is to set up an automatic deduction of as little as $20 a week from your checking account to a savings account or IRA. It's a small enough amount that you won't really miss it, but it adds up over time. You can obviously do more or less -- just as long as it's something. And just so long as you don't have to remember to do it.