How to Start Saving for Retirement

Happy older couple saving money for retirement and looking over their retirement plans

It doesn't matter how young or old you are if you haven't started saving for your retirement, then the time is now. You don't have to make large changes to your budget to start putting a little aside for your golden years. Even on a tight budget, you can find a little extra money to set aside for retirement. Here are a few easy ways to start saving for retirement without stretching your current budget too tightly.

Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plan

One benefit that many employers offer is matching funds for retirement. Your employer will help you set up a 401K and move money into that account each pay period from your check. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) doesn't tax money put into these special accounts until you withdraw the funds as a senior citizen. In most cases, your employer will match the funds you put into the account up to around three percent of your total income.

For example, your paycheck is $1,000 every other week. Your employer will take $30 or three percent of your income and move it to a 401K. The IRS uses $970 as your income for that week. Plus, your employer also puts $30 in your 401K account — typically, your employer places the money in your account once a year.

Get a Financial Planner to Help in Saving for Retirement

Even if you don't have a lot of disposable income, a financial planner can help you make the most of the money you have. Your bank might have a financial planner on staff who will meet with you. This planner can help you start planning for retirement for free.

If you're over 50 years of age, you can add an additional $6,000 a year to your 401K without tax consequences. Your financial expert can explore the options with you, such as how much you'll have when you retire if you invest $5 per week until you stop working or the total amount if you increase the amount to $7 a week. He's there to help you explore your options.

Get a Side Gig

From delivering groceries and driving people to pet sitting and acting as a mother's helper, there are almost limitless ways to pick up some extra cash without committing to a set schedule. You can use a side gig to jumpstart your retirement savings.

Whether you can only drive for three or four hours on the weekend, or you can pet sit for a week, you're sure to pick up some extra cash. You can use some or all of this extra cash to build your retirement fund.

Automate Your Retirement Savings

You probably get a paycheck each week or every other week, and that money goes directly into your bank account. You can stop by your bank and arrange for a certain amount or percentage to automatically transfer to your 401K account each pay period. If you aren't confident enough to set up automated payments yet, then you can arrange to have one-time transfers scheduled, when you have extra cash.

Reduce Monthly Spending

When it comes to saving for retirement, or anything for that matter, one of the simplest ways to save your money is to reduce monthly spending.It's possible that you have a secret coffee addiction, or that you don't use coupons when grocery shopping. These are just a few places in your monthly spending that you might be able to save money. You might be able to lower your monthly bills with automated payments, and put the extra money into your retirement fund.

When it comes time to retire, you want to have a nest egg that allows you to pay your bills without working every day. You might think it's too late to start saving, but it's never too late. With a few adjustments to your current budget, you can save a lot if you start saving for retirement today.