It's hard to imagine retirement when you're in your twenties, thirties, and into your forties. Setting big goals that won't turn into realities until you're at least 50 is tough - and saving up for those goals is even tougher.
We may get it. Yes, retirement is important and we need to save now. But it's such a distant future that for many of us, it's simply hard to get motivated to put our hard-earned money away. We want to play today, not plan for tomorrow.
The reality is, however, we'll one day have to face the decisions we made about our retirement savings. What are you supposed to do if you're "hurtling towards middle age" and don't have anything saved for your golden years?
A number of XY Planning members were featured in a recent article for The New York Times to answer that question for us. Check out their ideas and tips for Playing Catch-Up While Retirement Remains Far Off.
One of the most important things to remember is that you can't panic if you crunch some numbers and don't like what you see. It can be intimidating to try and use some sort of online calculator to try and determine what you need to retire.
Even if you feel like what you can start saving isn't enough, every little bit helps. And it's certainly going to help you progress where inaction will, obviously, not get you anywhere fast.
So how to actually start saving what you need to, when you haven't done so in the past?
The real key for people going through this middle stage of life and career is to be cautious about the family upgrades. The reality is that bulk saving in the later years may be the entirely normal path to retirement savings.
That's advice from Michael Kitces, XYPN co-founder and financial advisor. In other words, don't get caught up in keeping pace with the Joneses'. Try to avoid lifestyle inflation and focus on your retirement savings instead.
Of course, you may have already found yourself succumbing to lifestyle inflation. If that's the case, consider cutting some expenses. XY Planning Network member Matt Becker suggests making the process of eliminating expenses easier by cutting what you don't truly value instead of trying to limit yourself a little on everything:
Look for one big win at a time. If you can cut a monthly bill in half and use the savings to set up an automatic contribution into a retirement account, that’s going to do much more than trying to save by agonizing over your daily purchases.
To read more about playing catch-up with your retirement savings, be sure to check out the full article here.