You may have lofty ideals right after clutching that diploma at graduation. You’ll get a high paying job, get married, have a family and maybe save the world in the process. Hopefully you achieve all those things and more! But in order to live comfortably later on, you’ll need to make saving a priority. You may think retirement is something you don’t have to worry about now – after all, you’re in the early 20s and the world is your oyster. Retirement is at least four decades off, right? Well, technically it is, yes. But saving now means you’ll have a solid nest egg for your golden years. Here’s how to go about it.

Participate in your Company’s  401(k)

Your employer should offer you a 401(k) program…some even offer a company match. Take advantage of it all. That match is free money, after all. You may also have the option of purchasing stock from your company. Never withdraw funds from your 401(k), even if you find yourself in dire financial situations. You will have to pay a 10 percent tax penalty, plus you’ll have to shell out taxes on the balance. Each time you leave a job and take a new one, roll over your retirement savings into the new employer’s plan or open an Individual Retirement Account, advises

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Invest in Stocks and Bonds

In addition to your company’s 401(k), you should develop your own portfolio of stocks and bonds as a supplement to your retirement fund. Letting your money work for you is much smarter than saving every penny (which of course is important too!). You may buy and sell on your own, or you may decide to hire a stock broker. To avoid becoming the victim of investment fraud, though, make sure you research your broker tirelessly and always keep the number of a trusted stock fraud lawyer, like the ones at Thomas Law Group, handy.

Let Compounding Work for You

The earlier you start investing, the better off you’ll be later. Putting off retirement savings can drastically reduce what you eventually end up with. For example, if you sock away $300 every month starting at age 25 at eight percent, you’ll have more than $1 million when you retire at age 65. Wait 10 years at age 35 to start investing $300 each month and you’ll only be left with $440,000 by 65 — less than half as much as you would have if you had started a decade earlier, according to US News and World Report.

Foster a Side Business

There’s not much loyalty with employers these days. Because your job may not last for decades like your dad’s did, it’s always smart to foster a hobby or passion on the side that you could make money from. Engage in affiliate marketing, collaborate with others on Upwork, write an ebook, become an Uber driver, or sell items in a marketplace like Ebay, Amazon, Etsy, or Houzz.Perhaps your regular salary isn’t enough to pay the bills and make ends meet each month. This is why a side business is great – to provide you with additional income to sock away from an early age.

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