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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Money

Forget Your Age: Why Everyone Needs a Specific Retirement Goal Now

Do you have a specific financial goal for retirement?

Shaking your head right now?

Maybe you’ve never really thought about the actual number. In fact, you prefer not to think about retirement at all. After all, you have years to worry about that.

Well it may be time to come up with a plan, especially after you consider what John Rampton from Entrepreneur says about how much you’ll need: “Let’s say that you want to play it safe...That would come out to about five million for your retirement. Sound impossible? It’s not if you determine what you want your retirement to look like and set goals to achieve that reality.”

Rampton uses five million as a middle ground after considering the low end for Millennial retirement, ($1.8 million), and the high end (seven million), figures that account for a 4.5% yearly inflation rate.

Robert Powell writing for USA Today, has done the math: “The oldest Millennials, assuming they have no money set aside today and that they earn 5% on their investments, will need to sock away $2,000 a month for 32 years to accumulate a $1.8 million nest egg. And the youngest Millennials would need to save $1,000 a month for 48 years to accumulate $2.4 million.”

Sound impossible, scary, or both? It’s all about creating and sticking to a savings plan—not next month, next year, or the day after tomorrow, but today.

And you don’t need to have a huge salary to start saving for retirement—every little bit counts. Make a plan and force yourself to stick to it.

If Powell's suggested $1,000 to $2,000 a month is not realistic for you (and it’s definitely not for me at the moment), pick a more manageable number, maybe $100 is feasible. Whatever your starting amount is, figure out how much you need to save each week, and diligently track your progress, using whatever method works best for you: Pen and paper, an Excel spreadsheet, or even an app.

Can’t figure out where to even find $100 extra dollars a month to put aside? Start simple by monitoring your spending for a few months to see how often you buy things you want rather than items you need. Take a look at recurring expenses, like your gym membership. Is there a more affordable option? How about your media subscriptions—do you actually need Netflix, Hulu, and HBO? And while it may seem like a huge hassle, switching phone service providers might even save you some money, too.

While five million seems like an unachievable goal, remember, you just need to take it one day at a time. Start building it up today and cliches aside, your future self really will thank you.

Photo of person at desk courtesy of kupicoo/Getty Images.