Putting off saving for retirement costs you now, in the form of missed free money from your employer match. But the bigger miss of waiting on saving for retirement is that you forgo the benefits of compounding, said McBride. Your money has less time to grow in the market, so hitting a particular financial goal will require saving more or retiring later.
Someone planning to retire at age 62, and starting to save at age 25, would need to save 15 percent per year to adequately replace his or her income in retirement, according to a 2014 report from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. Start at age 35, and you'd need to save 24 percent per year to meet that same goal, they estimate — or save 15 percent but delay your retirement to age 65.
Already saving? You're not off the hook.
Waiting until the last minute to make IRA contributions can be costly, too. A 2014 Vanguard study estimated that over a 30-year career, investors routinely contributing $5,500 at the end of the tax year face a $15,500 "procrastination penalty" in lost earnings, compared to those who make their contribution early in the year.