Money, it’s the thing you need but have no idea what to do with.

Let’s dive into this.

The average American doesn’t save enough money for retirement. A lot of my generation (Generation Y) are not even thinking about saving for retirement because they either are in jobs that don’t pay enough for them to be able to save and/or they simply don’t know how to save. This lack of knowledge isn’t purposeful on our part, because the knowledge to know how to save and budget wasn’t taught to us as in-depth in schools like our parents generation.

Which means as our generation ages, and robots rise up to be our new overlords, jobs will become more and more scarce. This adds up to a lot of Gen Y working long hours until they’re dead while earning a wage that is significantly lower than when our parents were our age; or not working at all.

It’s easy to be nihilistic in the face of something like this, to say, “Screw it, I’m going to live life while I can because tomorrow is going to be terrible anyway.” And that’s a fun way to live, for now, until your body that felt invincible throughout your teens/mid-twenties begins to wear down. When the act of moving itself seems challenging and medical bills are now a part of your life. In the moment of now, you’ll make those great memories, but memories aren’t going to help you pay your mortgage or your debt.

What’s going to do that is simple saving, starting now.

Here’s how you can help your future self not hate your past self:

  1. Put together a budget– There are plenty of free online services that will help you keep yourself in check with spending. Check out Ynab.
  2. Go beyond a savings account– Savings accounts are nice to have, but really they should be used for saving toward something or having enough money in it to keep you afloat for 6 months. Once you reach your savings goal, you should start investing into a Roth IRA, 401K or invest in a mutual fund.
  3. Start a Roth IRA– My high school economics teacher preached this everyday, did I listen, no; and now I am just starting to do this. Just putting in $20 or $5 a week is going to help as these accounts are higher interest and cannot be touched until you’re in your 60’s. Then you can withdraw tax free; if you have to dip into it earlier you will get hit with a fine.
  4. Start a Mutual Fund– Mutual funds are professional managed investments that are usually pretty safe and can yield a solid return on your money. It sounds boring, but boring in money terms usually means responsible.
  5. Start a 401k– 401k’s are usually for those who are working at a business that offers them, but these travel with you between companies. Always be sure to ask if a company has a 401K plan and what they match. An average match rate is 2.7%, which means the company you’re working for will match 2.7% of the amount you’re putting into the 401k. These can be a bit complicated, but just start tucking away a little bit at a time. It will help.

I know that what I just said sounds a little boring, but it’s a solid base to start saving some cash for when you’re older. Yes, numbers are confusing, but finding a financial planner will help out a lot; and if professional athletes are starting to use them, that’s means planners are cool, so don’t be a fool.

In the end, this is advice, and I hope it helped.

Written by Maz

Nick enjoys making things and drinking coffee, specifically the latter, for without it the former wouldn’t get done. He also wrote a book titled "Where Monsters Lie & Other Tales"