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money management

Adulting Student Life

A College Student’s Guide to Retirement

November 22, 2021

As a college student, retirement is probably the furthest thing from your mind. You might not even know exactly what you want to do for a living yet. 

But, it’s never too early to start saving money and thinking about your future. The more focus you put on your retirement now, the easier it will be to set financial goals throughout your life and live comfortably in your golden years. You might even be able to retire early!

So, what are some of the basics to consider if you want to start planning and saving for retirement? 

Know How to Invest

One of the best ways to save money for retirement is to educate yourself on investing. Your mind might immediately go to stocks and bonds, but a good rule of thumb is to diversify your investments. It’s less risk, especially when you’re starting out, and could yield a greater return. You can diversify by investing in things like:  

  • Mutual funds
  • Savings accounts
  • Index funds
  • ETFs

It’s okay to think outside of the box when it comes to investments, too. If you’ve always been interested in real estate, consider purchasing a rental property. Does a friend of yours have a vineyard? Consider investing in their wine company. You can have some fun with your money while making smart choices with it. 

Understanding which investments are taxable can also help you decide which ones are right for you. Try to have a mix of taxable and non-taxable retirement accounts, like 401(k)s and company bonuses. There are steps you can take before and after you stop working to limit the taxes you’ll have to pay once you retire, so don’t be afraid to do your research on the best investments now and in the future. 

Set Achievable Goals

When you’re in college, it’s easy to dream big. You’ve got the world at your fingertips and everything seems possible.  

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with setting big goals. But, when it comes to your finances, the smarter option is to set smaller, achievable goals for the rest of your life that you can achieve before moving on to the next one. Some of your savings goals could include: 

  • Saving for a car
  • Saving for a house
  • Paying off your student loans
  • Getting rid of other debt

By mapping out your financial goals, you’ll get a clearer picture of your budget, so you can determine how much money can be put away each month for your retirement. As you start to reach some of your goals, you can start saving more money and adjust your budget. It’s a life-long process that can require consistent “tweaking”. But, it will make a big difference in your long-term financial success. 

It’s okay to have fun with your money right now but be smart with it. Thinking about your retirement and what you want to do with your life now will make it easier to achieve your financial goals in the future. Keep these tips in mind to start putting more focus on your finances and what you really want out of your eventual retirement. 

BIO: Sam Bowman has a passion for learning. As a seasoned professional writer, he specializes in topics about people, education, tech and how they merge. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

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