Most Americans rely on savings plans such as a 401(k), 403(k), or IRA to satisfy their financial needs post-retirement. It can be extremely challenging to balance expenses and maintain savings for individuals with low-income jobs; thus they ultimately decide to opt out of contributing towards their plan.
Such individuals face numerous financial responsibilities such as rent, transportation, groceries, and healthcare costs, amongst others, that must be accounted for pre and post-retirement. Together these costs form the bulk of an individual’s standard living expenses but are still basic necessities. Without the support of a savings plan to fund living expenses, future retirees are at risk of destitution.
However, all is not lost! Even without maintaining a 401(k), an individual in a low paying job can save up enough money. By contributing the minimum amount of $100 a month towards your savings, you could generate a sizeable amount for your retirement.
Savings Have to Start Early
Believe it or not! $100 is enough of a savings figure that you should contribute monthly, provided that you start at a young age; the maxim, ‘the sooner the better’ holds true in this regard. By starting earlier, you increase your chances of having a sizeable retirement fund to utilize at a later age.
Is $100 Enough?
You might still find our claim of $100 as unrealistic and impossible in terms of amassing a substantial retirement fund. Let us float some figures of savings that are possible at different ages.
If you Start Saving at 25
25 is the earliest age in which we are looking at for you to initiate savings towards a retirement fund. At 25, if you save $100 (assuming a 10% rate of return), you will have saved close to $870,000 by the time you reach the age of 70.
Having close to a million dollars to spend post-retirement is a great figure, which you can achieve if you prudently invest $100 towards your savings. Coupled with social security disbursements, this figure would allow you to easily satisfy any immediate financial requirements and expenditures you have.
If you Start Saving at 30
If you’ve missed a few years and find yourself entering middle-age, you can still piece together a sizeable amount. At 30, using the values stated above, you would have access to $536,000 at 70 years of age. This is still a sizeable figure and will easily see you through retirement.
If you Start Savings at 45
At 45 you’re close to retiring, this is perhaps the least feasible time to save up towards a retirement fund. However, let us compute the amount possible at this age to give you a quantifiable reason to start saving early.
At 40, using the aforementioned rate of return, you would have amassed around $120,000. This is a far cry away from the close-to-one-million-dollars you can hope to gain if you started saving at 25. To make such a low figure last throughout your retirement you would have to ration your expenses. In the case of a medical emergency, it is unlikely that this figure will prove sufficient.
What Options Do You Have To Invest?
You might feel that with a small figure of $100 you do not have access to a lot of investment options apart from investing in stocks. This couldn’t be further from the truth; there are multiple investment options you have available even at $100. We recommend investing in either one of the below-mentioned options to accommodate your post-retirement lifestyle.
Dividend Reinvestment Plan or DRIP is the name given to a savings plan that allows individuals the ability to start small and go big. Initially, the account owner purchases one share of a particular company and continues to invest acquired dividends to gain more shares.
Mutual funds have garnered a reputation for being costly initial investments. However, this is not always true, and through research, you can find mutual funds for less than $100. Having found one such fund, you should immediately invest in it and look to upgrade your portfolio from there.
The strategy you should follow is incremental leaps; start at $100 funds then migrate to $500, then $1000, and further until you acquire $3000 worth index funds. Index funds are part of an Index such as Dow Jones or a total market index fund which includes the entire market.
The Exchange Traded Fund is similar to an index fund but is traded like a stock. Many companies offer free ETF trading options, and employees enjoy a commission-free payment, making it a highly cost-effective method to start investing.
EFT’s do not have a minimum investment requirement thus allowing low-income individuals to easily invest in them. This is a great savings option through which you can invest in commodities; additionally ETF’s offer more liquidity over the holding of physical commodities.
If you’re barely making ends meet and are concerned about your post-retirement sustenance, the knowledge that monthly savings of at least $100 can result in a future savings base of close to $1 million should gear you into action and jumpstart your saving plans no matter what your age.
If you don’t think you can invest in your retirement plan, then at least start at $100 a month. After you have that in place, take our Social Security Analysis and get that settled. If you don’t save at least $5,000 from that analysis you get your money back but you get to keep the analysis.