I'm in my late Thirties and the last thing I want to think about is retirement. Actually, I WANT to think about not having to get up at 5 AM to sit at a desk all day but funding my golden years seems kind of overwhelming and impossible. But, unfortunately, the safety net that so many people rely on is burning up quite quickly.

"The trustees of Social Security and Medicare said that Social Security costs will exceed income by the year 2020, according to the Wall Street Journal. At that point, the government will need to start using the $3 trillion trust fund to continue paying out benefits, though the trustees said this money is expected to run out by 2035, at which point it won't be able to pay out the full promised benefits anymore."

Basically, since the Baby Boomer generation has hit the social security age, the working class is having a hard time keeping up with funding their social security. And, in a short 15 years, the funding will have run out to support any type of government-supported retirement. There's a lot of economic jargon and political blaming we can throw around to explain how this whole debacle happened but the bottom line is we need to plan for the future sans social security.

Okay, so first, where should you start?

Let's be clear - I am no financial expert. And there are a LOT of factors to consider so you should definitely enlist the help of an expert. But if you want a quick and painless way to see where you stand, you should check out a retirement calculator. Here's an easy one from Nerd Wallet. You just pop in your age, how much you have saved, and how much you'll need for retirement and it calculates what you need to start saving each month. Spoiler alert: it's more than you think. And it's hard to look at but do not let that scare you! It's better to save a little than nothing!

Now, again you should sit down and do your homework. And, you should think about finding a professional to help you because there are tons of different options for you. There are also some online sources to help you get started saving for retirement that cost very little. One of the options is Stash. I use this one and like it. You can start with as little as $5 and if you take the time, they will walk you through and virtually explain everything to you. And they break it down so you can invest in a really easy way. I have two accounts - one is my retirement account and the other is my daughter's college fund. For only $1 a month and unlimited trades (I literally just bought $50 of McDonald's), it has been a fantastic investment in my future. They'll even start you off with your first $5. And, you can set up automatic withdraws so it's super easy. Stash offers two types of retirement accounts: Roth and Traditional. Don't know what any of this means? No worries, they break it all down for you in bite size chunks! 

There's also an service called Acorns that for only $1-2 a month, you can "micro-invest" your spare change when you make purchases. They have lots of resources to help you invest and can even set up a retirement account for you as well. I have some family members who use this and have said that it works well for them because they never realize the money is gone. You don't have a big lump sum taken out of your check every week.

Now, a lot of people my age think that there's no way that they can save for retirement but it's easier than you think. Here are a few ways to fund your retirement:

1. Set Up Auto Withdraw: That way, if it's not there you can't spend it

2. Actively Invest: I use my Stash app and make it into a game. I use small amounts of money (like $5-10 investments) and try out new things to see what works and see how I can make my investment even better.

3. Swap: When you actively decide to deny something (say, a designer coffee) immediately invest that $5 into your retirement account. Think about the beach!

4. Align Your Diet: Take #3 a step further! When you feel like going out to eat or splurging on that expensive high calorie coffee, save your body and bank account!

5. Set Up Investment Accounts for Kids: Make it a family affair! Save money at home and then invest what you save! Seriously, if Social Security is going to be a thing of the past, you owe it to your kids to teach them how to be financially secure.


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