How do you secure your future while trying to fix your present situation? If you’re working on paying off debt, contributing to your retirement might have gotten pushed to the back of your mind. However, you can still pad your retirement account while still making progress with debt management.
Decide which debts to pay off first.
You may consider paying off the highest-interest debts first, such as credit cared debt or private student loans. Lower-interest debts like mortgages and federal student loans might can be paid down more gradually). It might feel like a step back to not be paying off certain debts as quickly, but it’s an opportunity to invest more money for retirement. Alternatively, some people feel especially motivated when they pay off the smallest debt first, since it’s like a “quick win.”
Consider debt management to lower your debt.
Although it is possible, investing for retirement while paying off debt can be a challenge. If you’re paying off large debts, you might not be able to invest as much money as you want into your retirement account. A low-cost debt management plan simplifies your bills, and the money you’ll save can go right into your investments for retirement. You’ll get out of debt faster and watch your retirement fund grow at the same time.
Always contribute to your 401(k).
If you can contribute enough to your 401(k) to get your employer’s match, it’s basically free money. If your employer doesn’t offer a 401(k) or equivalent as a benefit, set up a direct deposit into your IRA when you’re paid each month. The Roth IRA is a useful retirement account for young professionals who don’t have access to a 401(k).
For those who are self-employed, contribute a small amount – such as 5% – of your earnings to your IRA.
Make compound interest work for you.
It’s important to take advantage of compound interest and overtime market gains when investing for retirement. Compound interest makes money from your money. More specifically, you don’t just earn interest on your principal balance. Your interest earns interest too – and when you add that back into your principal balance, you earn even more interest. Talk about bang for your buck! This is why you should start investing for retirement when you’re young, regardless of whether or not you are paying off debt (even investing the minimum, while paying more money towards your student debt or a car loan, helps). That said, you can always start at any time!
Side hustle for your future.
Popular advice, but that extra cash helps. For example, you can put your earnings from a side hustle into your Roth IRA. You’ll have to plan for it, but with all factors executed carefully, a busier life can prepare you for a financially relaxed retirement.
Paying off for debt and preparing for retirement can be done simultaneously. It will take some planning, but you won’t feel as overwhelmed when you’re on the right track.
If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Sign up for a free credit counseling session with us today!