First, understand that any amount you save for the future is better than no savings at all. Even small amounts will grow and compound over the years. Then, consider key life events that might provide a good opportunity to boost your savings. Here are some milestones that may qualify.
Getting a raise
Perhaps your hard work has been rewarded with a bump in pay. Now it’s time to think about using this money to reward your future self. As you’ve already been living on a lower salary, you could continue your current lifestyle and direct the extra amount in your paycheck toward retirement savings. You could also choose to keep half the extra income from your raise and put the other half into retirement savings. That way you’ll feel a bit of a bump up in your lifestyle while still saving for tomorrow.
A child starting kindergarten
After you’ve shed a few tears because your baby is growing up too fast, take a look at your monthly budget, as this may help you feel better. If your child is going off to a public school (in person or on screen), you’re likely to realize savings once you’re no longer paying for day care or preschool (some states do offer free pre-kindergarten programs). Because you’re already used to taking that chunk out for educational expenses, setting aside even half the amount you paid for child care shouldn’t feel too onerous.
A new job
Landing a new job can be the perfect opportunity for a fresh start, in numerous ways. Starting work at a new company is a great time to rededicate yourself to saving, especially if your new position comes with a higher salary. Many organizations automatically enroll their employees in a retirement savings plan, but often at much too low a savings level. Challenge yourself to contribute a few percentage points more at your new job than you did in your last one. And no matter what, if your employer offers a match, make sure you contribute at least enough to take advantage of every penny.