The cost of retirement saving procrastination

By Michael Cave

​Have you heard the old adage "pay yourself first" out of your weekly, bi-weekly or monthly paycheck? What this means is to add to your savings and retirement vehicles like a Roth or Traditional IRA or your 401k at your workplace.

Chances are you are not if you are like most Americans. A staggering 43 percent of all Americans have less than $10,000 for retirement! That is not even enough for a good used car.

The longer you wait the more you will need to save in later years to make up for lost time.

Example: Recent college graduates Jack and Jill attend a benefits conference sponsored by their new employers. Each company offers a 401k plan. Jill listens intently and decides to contribute $100 a month to her company plan. Jack decides he can put that money to better use by spending it on things like entertainment, eating out, mini-vacations and a big car with a big car payment.

Ten years later, assuming a 6 percent growth rate (conservative), Jill has amassed $16,700. Jack on the other hand has viewed too many forgettable movies, gained 15 lbs from eating out so often and has bought 3 cars during this time, each with a bigger payment than the last one.

Jack decides to start saving $100 a month.

By age 65, Jill's account has grown to $253,000 and Jack's account has grown to only $132,000! Almost half as much as Jill.

Anytime is a good time to add to savings, but remember the later you start the more it will cost you. Later may never come as reasons for not doing so increase like a growing family, mortgage payments, college expenses ... you name it.