retirement plan

Beginning Your Retirement Plan in Your 30s

Unfortunately, for many of us, retirement is one of those things we procrastinate on. We start our careers in our 20s and think, “I won’t be retiring for 30 or 40 years, I have plenty of time before I need to worry about that.” But the reality is, the sooner you start working on a retirement plan, the better.

By the time you’re in your 30s, you’ve likely set up a decent financial foundation for yourself.

  • You’re no longer making an entry-level salary
  • You’re hopefully done with or completing your student loan payments
  • You may have made some substantial contributions to a 401k or IRA
  • You’ve probably set aside some savings for emergencies

If you’re not quite there yet, don’t worry! Now is the time to start making strides toward setting yourself up for a financially stable future. Below are just a few things you can do to start working on your retirement plan in your 30s.


Yeah, I know, this sounds like a no brainer. But I’m talking about some serious saving. Before now, if you haven’t been contributing to your 401k, it’s time to start. If you can afford it, make the maximum annual contribution – in 2017, that’s $18,000.

If that sounds like too big a number, it’s okay to start smaller. Aim to put 10-15% of your income into your 401k. And don’t forget to consider raises – when you get a raise, bump the savings percentage up a bit instead of spending your new wealth. Your future retired self will thank you.

Imagine Your Ideal Retirement

Right now, retirement is this far off thing in the distance that mainly sounds like an endless vacation. But I want you to think about what you actually want to do in retirement. It’s the only way to make sure you’re setting up the best retirement plan for you.

Do you envision traveling all over the world? Vacationing in a second home? While those options sound like a lovely way to spend your retirement, they’re also expensive ways to spend your retirement. Envisioning how you’ll spend your retirement years will give you a better idea of how much you’ll need to save. This way, you can develop the appropriate retirement plan to help you reach those financial goals.

Evaluate Your Benefits

A good retirement plan is balanced, which means it isn’t exclusively focused on saving. Ensure you’re maximizing employer benefits such as disability insurance, life insurance, health insurance, Flex Spending Accounts, Health Savings Accounts, and your 401k.

If you’re not being offered these things through a work benefits package, consider buying your own policies, or opening your own accounts. You’ll want to be prepared if an unexpected tragedy occurs. This way, you, your spouse, and your family won’t be completely financially derailed.

It’s never too early to start thinking about retirement. It may seem like far away now, but the years will go by quickly! Starting your retirement plan in your 30s will help to ensure you can enjoy a happy, stress-free retirement.

Need help developing a retirement plan that works for you and your life? As a CRPC® designee, I specialize in helping people plan for retirement. Let me help you prepare for the future you want.