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July 8, 2020 at 5:00 AM
by Elliot Omanson

Have you started saving for retirement yet? That is an easy question to answer; it’s either yes or no. If you have not started yet, the next question is why not?

Many people justify and have reasons why they are not saving.

Do you see yourself in any of these statements?

· I don’t have extra money in the budget

· I have to pay for college, need a new car, need a new refrigerator,

· I have plenty of time, I will start tomorrow.

No matter what your excuse or your income, the time to start saving is now.

Here are a few tips on how to start building your retirement fund:

1. Start with a monthly budget

Create a balanced monthly budget. Have your income equal to your expenses. (Consider savings as one of your expenses) People need to understand where they are spending their money. They need to know this so they can begin their financial planning. Writing your budget down is the place to start. There are several apps to help you with this or create your budget on a spreadsheet.

2. Find an accountability partner

No matter what your income level, it is hard to create a financial plan. You don’t have to do it alone. Look for a mentor, a pastor, a parent or friend to help you. There are also several podcasts you can listen to that give guidance. The important thing is to find someone you trust that can provide financial advice.

3. Fine tune your budget

The main challenge people face is they all seem to spend everything they make. This seems to be true no matter how much a person earns.

Review your budget and cut out non-essential expenses.

Examples: Some people stop by the coffee shop on their way to work. That can add up to $80-$100 a month. Others buy their lunch out. That meal out could add another $200 to your monthly budget. Bringing coffee and lunch from home frees up money so you can start to build up a reserve.

4. Take advantage of your workplace’s 401 K plan

Workers need to sign up for this great company benefit. Many plans offer matching contributions. This match means the employer will deposit a designated amount of money into your account for a portion of what you save. Take advantage of this free money.

5. Eliminate debt

Pay off your debts and do not take on new debt. Don’t waste your money on high interest loans and credit card interest rates.

6. Look for additional sources of income

Bringing home extra money will give you a boost in paying off debt and saving for retirement. Selling items you have lying around the house, getting a second job, or going back to school are ways to increase your income.

The most important thing is to start. Start by writing down your monthly budget. You don‘t have to do all of these 6 tips at once, pick a 1 or 2 to start your plan.