Skip to main content

Insights by Cathay

How to Plan for Retirement in Your 30s

Planning for retirement is something that far too many people delay until they are nearing retirement age. According to the Economic Policy Institute, only about half of Americans ages 32 to 37 have started saving for retirement. If you start early, you can choose when you want to stop working rather than stay at your job until you are no longer able to work.

The benefits of saving money for retirement include confidence in your financial future for yourself and those who care about you, the ability to maintain your current standard of living once you stop working, and the freedom to spend time with children and grandchildren and do other things you love.

Simply put, saving enough for retirement and making sure you have investment assets on the side to generate income are critical because Social Security itself is not sufficient.

You probably know that the best time to start planning for retirement was years ago. The second-best time, however, is now. Regardless of how old you are or how much you have saved, you can put money away for the future. The most important reason to start saving is to make money using time, so get your money working for you as soon as possible. Here are some tips that will help:

1. Create a road map

What is a retirement savings plan? In essence, it is a road map for your money’s destination. Map out your future expenses by establishing savings timelines for each need. Goals such as purchasing a car or saving for your child’s college will have different timelines. The Consumer Price Index, which tracks the prices of goods and services, indicates that inflation is driving prices up by 2.5% to 3% each year. If your money is not growing at the same rate, it is losing value. Planning will help you at least keep up with inflation, whether via a mutual fund, an investment account, or real estate. Likewise, programs such as individual IRAs or 401(k)s, which could be offered by your employer, allow you to defer paying taxes on money that you put away for retirement.

2. Develop a habit of savings

It is not how much you make but how much you keep that really matters. Once you establish a habit of putting money away, the better positioned you are to create a nest egg for the future. Remember to always pay yourself first. You should have a set amount to put into savings every month, even before you pay your first bill. Look at your spending over a three-month period and divide it into two categories: necessities and luxuries. If you are asking yourself how to increase your savings, the answer is to cut spending on items that you want but do not really need.

3. Hold yourself accountable

What is a retirement savings plan good for if you are not going to stick to it? If you are saving with your spouse, keep each other motivated to stay on track. If you are saving independently, find a tool you can use to measure your progress each month. It could be a simple profit-and-loss statement, similar to what businesses use, or an app like Mint or EveryDollar that allows you to track your savings and spending habits. Most banks also have tools within their own online banking system that allow you to monitor your spending habits and budget accordingly.

Some final reminders:

  • Start early, you’ll have a much better shot to retire comfortably. As soon as you have earned income, even from a first job, start putting some savings away.
  • Utilize employer plans if available and take advantage of any company match for an increased return.
  • Watch out for the fees. Look closely at sales commissions, assess risk, and speak with an advisor.

The benefits of saving money for retirement outweigh the smaller sacrifices you might have to make each month to build your nest egg. The earlier you start, the more time you have for your money to grow. The longer it is in a retirement account or an investment vehicle, the better. That is how to maximize savings. Moreover, if you get into the habit of saving while you are young, you will be in a better position to accomplish your goals in the future.

If you need help with financial planning, call Cathay Wealth Management today for a complimentary financial plan review, or visit the Cathay Wealth Management site for a full list of services.

This article does not constitute legal, accounting, or other professional advice. Although the information contained herein is intended to be accurate, Cathay Bank does not assume liability for loss or damage due to reliance on such information.

* Wealth management services does not assure a profit or protect against loss in a declining market.


Check the background of this investment professional on FINRA’s Broker Check

Registered office: 825 E. Valley Blvd., 2nd Floor, San Gabriel, CA 91776 Tel: 1-877-722-8429

Cathay Wealth Management is a marketing name of Cetera Investment Services. Securities and insurance products are offered through Cetera Investment Services LLC (doing insurance business in CA as CFG STC Insurance Agency LLC), member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services are offered through Cetera Investment Advisers LLC. Neither firm is affiliated with the financial institution where investment services are offered.

Individuals affiliated with Cetera firms are either Registered Representatives who offer only brokerage services and receive transaction-based compensation (commissions), Investment Adviser Representatives who offer only investment advisory services and receive fees based on assets, or both Registered Representatives and Investment Adviser Representatives, who can offer both types of services.

Click here to view Cetera Investment Services Privacy Policy, other Important Information.

This site is published for residents of the United States only. Registered Representatives of Cetera Investment Services LLC may only conduct business with residents of the states and/or jurisdictions in which they are properly registered. Not all of the products and services referenced on this site may be available in every state and through every advisor listed. For additional information please contact the advisor(s) listed on the site, visit the Cetera Investment Services LLC site at

For a comprehensive review of your personal situation, always consult with a tax or legal advisor. Neither Cetera Investment Services, nor any of its representatives may give legal or tax advice.

Investments are:

  • Not FDIC/NCUSIF insured

  • May lose value

  • Not financial institution guaranteed

  • Not a deposit

  • Not insured by any federal government agency


Share This Article:

Social share image