Building a healthy retirement plan is possible. Sure, it may be more difficult for self-employed folks than those who have access to a workplace plan. However, no matter the source of an income, it’s possible to save for retirement. Here are some steps to take.
Open An Account
The first step toward building a healthy retirement plan is simply opening an account. Those who have access to a 401(k) plan from work can start there. Those who are self-employed can open up a Solo 401(k) or a SEP-IRA account. Both can open up a Traditional or a Roth IRA as long as they fit the income parameters. The important thing is to just start.
Pay Off Debt
Outside of a mortgage, it’s a good idea to pay off debt as soon as possible. Every dollar that goes toward paying off a previous debt is a dollar that cannot go toward retirement savings. Additionally, with debt, the power of compounded interest is acting against the borrower and in the favor of the lender. By paying off the debt, the power of compound interest begins to work in the favor of the saver, and over time, it can really lead to a healthy nest egg.
Think About An HSA
Health Savings Accounts, better known as HSAs, are intended to accumulate funds for medical expenses. Many people are unaware of another benefit of these funds. After age 65, account holders can access the funds without penalty. Only regular income taxes are due at that point. As long as the funds are used as intended before that point, the money is tax-free going in. They are also tax-free while invested and when disbursed to pay for medical bills. Every dollar that does not go to the tax man is a dollar that can be invested for retirement.
Make Savings Automatic
The best way to build up a nice nest egg for retirement is through automatic savings. Basically, investors have a percentage of their paychecks siphoned into a retirement account each week or month. This can come from automatic payroll deductions, or it can come from an automatic withdrawal from a regular checking account. Again, the most important step is to get started. Even starting with 3 percent (especially in the case where an employer offers a match) can be a positive step to take.
As more money comes in with raises, this number can go up. Most personal finance gurus recommend saving somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of income. Dave Ramsey is famous for recommending a 15-percent savings range. Those who save even more might have the luxury of retiring early; while those who start early will have the benefit of time for compounding to really make their retirement plans quite healthy.