Saving for retirement: the future starts now!

We all need to save for retirement and it's totally doable, but magical thinking won't get us there. It requires action, but first we need to take a look at some of our habits. Where do we start?

Where is all my money going?

Saving means keeping more money than we spend, and it starts with taking a look at our buying impulses. Every time we want to purchase something, we need to ask ourselves if it’s useful, if we need it and why.

If your heart and head tell you that you do—whether it’s a product or a service—take the time to compare the price. With just a few clicks or calls, you can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars, on the exact same thing! Here are a few places to start.

Subscriptions and memberships

When was the last time you compared your phone or Internet plan, based on your actual usage?

Are you still taking advantage of your gym membership? What about the video service you haven’t used since your favourite show ended and that automatically renews every month? Or the music streaming service you signed up for?

In some cases, like the gym, it can be better to pay as you go. Calculate how many times a month you use your membership to figure out if it’s really worth it.

$5 here, $10 there… that’s not much, right?

Wrong. Over 20 years, $25 a month for things you don’t use very often—or at all—adds up to $6,000 down the toilet. But if you take that same 25 dollars and invest it in an RRSP with, say, 5% annual interest, you’d end up with over $10,000. That’s the same $6,000, plus $4,000 in interest!

Budget for fun

It’s fun to imagine jetting around the world, eating amazing food and sharing it all on Instagram. Or maybe showing off your gorgeous home.

It’s important to enjoy life, and you definitely don’t have to wait for retirement to do that, but you do need to be practical. Depending on your interests and preferences and how much you can afford, you’ll want to include it in your budget. It’ll be easier to stay on track and achieve your goals, without putting your savings at risk.

How much does a car really cost?

We all know that as soon as the car leaves the lot, it loses value. Imagine having two cars! Owning a vehicle is a huge expense, and it can impact our ability to build a nest egg for our retirement. Here’s an interesting fact: most millionaires aren’t big spenders, and many drive economy cars.

Sometimes a car is a necessity, but before buying one, make sure you can really afford it. You’ll need to consider not just the monthly payments but also the cost of maintenance.

Consider other options too, like biking, ridesharing and public transit. When you do the math and realize how much you can save, the decision becomes easier.

Insure your retirement

Are your insurance coverages still right for your current needs? Take the time to meet with a financial security advisor at least every two years. They can help you evaluate your needs and make the right recommendations for you.

Get out of debt

Saving for the future starts with reducing or eliminating debt. It takes discipline and sacrifice, but it can be more satisfying to achieve your goal than to spend unnecessarily. Saying no to a purchase means saying yes to your financial future. Your caisse advisor can help you figure out how to reduce your debt faster, plan your budget and build an emergency fund.

It’s never too late

Many people who achieve financial security in retirement are moderate spenders who forego certain expenses in order to build a nice nest egg. That means being a bit less impulsive and a little more consistent and, most importantly, believing that it’s never too late to start saving. Winning the lottery or receiving an inheritance isn’t the answer. So, we’ll say it again: the future starts now!

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