When Should I Start Planning for Retirement?

The short answer is now.

It is never too early to start. The younger we start, the more time there is to accumulate and the lesser we need to commit to reach the same goal, as compared to starting later.

Here’s a simple illustration. Assuming we have a goal to accumulate $1,000,000 at Age 65 for our retirement. The assumption is based on an average return of 3% per annum across all time frame. (Usually, the longer the period, returns are higher and for shorter time frame, returns may be lower.)

When we start saving regularly at Age 25, we will need to put aside $13,262 a year, that’s about $1,100 a month to achieve this goal. However, if we were to start at 35, it’s still possible, but we will need to put aside more every month. Instead of $1,100, this increases to about $1,750 a month (or $21,019 a year). And if we start only at 55, we will then need to put aside about $7,270 a month to achieve the same target.

It is always easier to form the habit of saving when we start early. If the goal seems difficult to achieve, it is possible for us to lose the motivation and not start at all. However, since retirement is inevitable, every bit counts and every bit will help us to either retire earlier, or retire with lesser financial stress.