Americans tend to feel that there is a certain age for financial milestones, such as paying off student loans or beginning the process of saving for retirement. When it comes to starting to save money for our later years, the magical age is 22 according to a recent Bankrate survey.
While everyone has a slightly different idea of what the perfect age is, on average, they believe you should have your first purchased or leased car by the age of 21, get your first credit card at 22, start saving for retirement in that same year, buy your first home at age 28, and retire at 61. That is a lot going on financially in our twenties!
As for when to retire on all of those decades of saved earnings, Generation X and Millennials believe early retirement is better. They plan on retiring at 60 and 61 respectively. Baby Boomers aren’t far behind them with a preferred retirement age of 62. It is only older generations that seem to still believe that retirement should happen at age 65 or beyond.
With the younger generations’ choice in retirement age, 22 starts making a lot of sense when it comes to beginning to save for retirement, but is roughly 40 years enough time to save and grow your money for early retirement? With the average lifespan in the US currently hovering over 78 years, that’s approximately 18 (or more) years of retirement to fund in 40 (or less) years.
Can it be done?
If you save aggressively, yes, it is possible. But don’t forget that there is a lot of life that may get in the way between 22 and 62. Children take many women out of the workforce, at least temporarily. Debt can pile up, especially if you choose a house that is larger and more expensive than necessary. Pensions are also becoming a thing of the past as more people are getting 401(k)s instead.
If you plan to retire earlier than what previous generations have done, make sure to sit down and create a plan. How you are living today really may affect what your lifestyle will be like tomorrow.
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