You’re just out of college, starting your first job. Building long-term financial security is probably the last thing on your mind. But. young people just entering the workforce must not underestimate the importance of financial planning geared toward saving for the future.
One of the best deals is an employer-sponsored retirement plan such as a 401(k) plan, if available. These tax-advantaged plans allow you to make pretax contributions, and taxes aren’t owed on any earnings until they’re withdrawn. What’s more, Roth-style plans allow for after-tax contributions and tax-free withdrawals in retirement, provided certain eligibility requirements are met. Another big plus is direct contributions from each paycheck so you won’t miss the money as well as possible employer matches on a portion of your contributions.
If you’re already participating, think about either increasing contributions now or with each raise and promotion.
If a 401(k) isn’t available to you, shop around for individual retirement accounts (IRAs), both traditional and Roth, at banks or mutual fund firms. Generally, contributions to and income earned on traditional IRAs are tax deferred until retirement; Roth IRA contributions are made after taxes, but earnings thereon can be withdrawn tax-free upon retirement. Note that certain eligibility requirements apply and nonqualified taxable withdrawals made before age 59 1/2 are subject to a 10% penalty.