“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.”— William Shakespeare from The Merry Wives of Windsor
If you’re planning on dying the month after you retire, then there’s no need to read on. But, if you want to actually live and enjoy retirement, this article is for you.
Let’s say you’ll retire at 65 years old. Today, that seems years away, decades away. You’re not even thinking about it. You’re currently doing your best to keep your head above water. You don’t have the time to focus on retirement. That’s for the future. That’s for old people. Once you get the latest financial emergency out of the way, you tell yourself, you’ll start saving for retirement. You don’t need to start saving now because your 65th birthday is a long way away.
But… is it?
I’m turning 40 soon. That means, if I retire at 65, I have a quarter of a century until it happens. A quarter of a century sounds like it will never come. It is a long time, but let’s start dissecting that time frame. A quarter of a century is 25 years. That means in those 25 years there will be 300 months. If you get paid monthly you only have 300 more pay days.
If you save only £1 a month, then when you retire you’ll have a measly £300. Maybe enough to get you through the first week of retirement.
If you save only £25 a month, then you’ll have £7,500. Better, but if you live until you’re 100 that £7,500 needs to stretch for a long time. Impossible.
If you only save £100 a month, then you’ll have amassed £30,000. Better again, but not enough.
£250 a month.£75,000. This looks better. But if you currently earn £37,500 a year, that means it will only be 2 years of your full time salary.
£500 a month, £150,000.
£1,000 a month saved will be £300,000 sitting under the bed. Better, again.
So what am I trying to say with this post?
Time is short, and time is running out. If you’re not saving then you need to start now, and you need to start saving big. The more you save now, the better it will be for your future self.
If you are in debt at the moment, then get that repaid immediately.
If you don’t have an emergency fund of at least 6 month’s worth of expenses, then get saving now.
If your expenses are huge then you need to reduce them now and free up that money to helping with the above points.
If you’re not in a workplace pension, get in it now, enjoy the tax relief and pump as much money as you can into the pot.
As the screenwriter John Hughes wrote in his film Ferris Bueller Day Off, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”