Live Like a College Student and Retire a Millionaire?

Bigstock-Become-A-Millionaire-99838559Retiring as a millionaire might seem like a lofty goal for millennials, but if having financial security in your future is important, it is a good benchmark to work towards in your twenties and thirties. It also isn't impossible. With some thriftiness, smart planning and the benefit of time, having a million in retirement accounts is more than possible , even if you aren't earning a million a year. In a study in 2014, Fidelity Investments looked at the habits of 1,000 clients who had more than $1 million in their Fidelity-managed 401(k)s—and earned less than $150,000. With the advice of two other personal finance experts, here are nine ways to become a retirement millionaire.

Forbes' recent article "Nine Ways To Be A Millionaire In Retirement," says that the one thing all 401(k) millionaires have in common is that they save at a higher amount. So start early in your career path, whatever you're making.

While millennials often have a competing priority with paying student loan debt, it's still important to make sure some of your money is going into retirement.

Live like a college student. Even if you are making very little, you should "mind the gap" – that is, the gap between what you spend and what you earn. Make sure there is a gap and keep your expenses low. Try to live like a college student when you're earning your first salary. Maybe have Ramen noodles and hot dogs on at least some evenings.

Track and evaluate. If saving seems like a task that is impossible to fathom, just look where your money is going. Take a three-month period and track all of your spending. You can use a tool like Quickbooks, Quicken, Mint, or, just use a debit card for all expenditures during that time so that your finances are automatically tracked. Keep track of where you spend your money, with that data, categorize things.

Slowly bump up your contribution rate. By the age of 25, you should be contributing at least of 10-15% (including your employer match) to your 401(k) savings plan. In order to ramp up to that contribution amount, start small (such as 6% if possible), then increase that percentage every six months.

Match…no, but really. Contributing enough to your 401(k) to take advantage of your employer's full match is one of the most effective personal finance tactics.

Check your "vest." If you've been taking advantage of your employer's 401(k) match, take a look at your company's vesting schedule. All of the money you put into your retirement account is yours, but you have to be fully vested to keep all of your employer's contributions.

Talk to an expert. It always helps to talk to an expert. Estate planning attorneys are always ready to assist you.

The most important thing is to start saving early.

For more information about estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Reference: Forbes (October 9, 2015) "Nine Ways To Be A Millionaire In Retirement"

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