“I don’t make enough money to save for retirement.”
This is a common reason people, especially those just starting out in their careers, give for not saving. Their plan is to start saving when they feel like they are making enough money.Unfortunately, this mindset often leads to a stressful financial future.
And it could have been avoided.
Here are six reasons why you shouldn’t wait until you make more to save more:
- The Bible teaches us that saving is wise. Proverbs 6:6-8 says this—Go to the ant, you slacker! Observe its ways and become wise. Without leader, administrator, or ruler, it prepares its provisions in summer; it gathers its food during harvest. Throughout Scripture, we are taught that we capitalize on times of abundance to get us through times of scarcity. For retirement, this means taking advantage of a paycheck to get you through a time when you no longer receive income from an employer.
- Habit-building starts now. Habitually setting aside money for the future does not magically begin when you have more income. The best way to ensure you will actually take advantage of a higher salary is to regularly save now, regardless of your paycheck’s size.
- Great income is often followed by greater expenses. When people get a raise, savings is not normally the first to increase. Expenses do. We make more so we spend more. Financial margin remains thin, even with a greater income.
- For some, “enough” never happens. Sometimes, this happens because their career never takes off like they hope. Other times, even though their income has increased, they don’t feel like they make enough.
- Compounding. It is said that a reporter once asked Albert Einstein what he considered to be the greatest invention of all time. His response? “Compound interest.” Compounding is earning money on your earned money. And the best way to take advantage of compounding is to start early. Remember this formula: A little bit of money + A lot of time = A lot of money.
- The matra, “It’s never too late to start all over again,” won’t be as comforting as you think in the future. Certainly, you can start habitually saving at any point. But you can never truly recapture lost time. Every month you delay saving is a month you never get back. It is a month that you are never able to take advantage of compounding. When you delay your retirement savings, you make your climb to retirement steeper.
Don’t wait until you make more money to save more money. Start now. Make it your goal to place 15% of your gross income into retirement savings. Whether you make much or little, now is the time to save for retirement.