Early in your career, it can be difficult to see the urgency of putting aside money for retirement, but experts recommend that you start saving for the future as soon as you can.
And if you have access to a 401(k) account through your employer, take advantage of that benefit by contributing enough to qualify for the full employer match, which is essentially free money.
Retirement accounts such as 401(k)s and traditional IRAs allow you to put away a portion of your pretax salary and continue to accrue interest on that balance over time.
How much should you save for retirement early on? Retirement-plan provider Fidelity recommends having the equivalent of your salary saved by the time you reach 30. That means if your annual salary is $50,000, you should aim to have $50,000 in retirement savings by 30.
While that can be a daunting figure, start by saving what you can. You can gradually increase your contributions over time.
The average 401(k) balance for people between the ages of 30 and 39 is $50,800, according to data from Fidelity's retirement platform as of the fourth quarter of 2020.
The average employee contribution rate for Americans in this age group is 8.3%.
How much you want to have saved for retirement depends largely on what lifestyle you want for yourself and your family.
Fidelity recommends that Americans save 15% of their salary over the course of their career in order to retire with 10 times their salary in retirement savings.
This is how much Fidelity recommends Americans have saved at every age:
- By 30, you should have the equivalent of your salary saved
- By 40, you should have three times your salary saved
- By 50, you should have six times your salary saved
- By 60, you should have eight times your salary saved
- By 67, you should have 10 times your salary saved