Mistake #2: Not funding retirement (either at all, or sufficiently enough.) When it comes to retirement time, the only person you can count on is you. If you’re not funding your retirement yet, get started immediately. Really. Right now. This is probably the single most important thing you can do to ensure a comfortable future. Retirement may seem like a long way off (especially if you’re just starting out) but it will be here before you know it, and it’s just as important (if not more important) than some things that may feel like more immediate needs.
Solution: Setting up an IRA or signing up for your company’s 401(k) account is relatively simple. You will probably need a minimum amount to open an IRA (Vanguard’s minimum is $3000, for example) but once you’ve opened the account you can add a little at a time. If you don’t have enough yet to open it, begin setting aside as much as you can afford from each paycheck (or at least twice a month, if you’re self-employed or part of a single-income family) until you reach the minimum. If your employer offers a 401(k) account, by all means take advantage of it, especially if there is a company match. Company match = free money. Start with the amount you can afford now, and increase it with every raise or whenever you’ve paid off a recurring bill or found other ways to earn extra money. Remember that EVERYONE needs their own retirement account. Don’t get caught without one, and don’t count on things like Social Security. Even if it is still around when you retire, chances are you won’t receive enough from it to live comfortably.