By Treasurer David McRae
Christmas is just about two weeks away, and many families are preparing to gather together for the holiday. Especially in today’s climate, it’s probably best to keep politics out of any table conversation, but what about money? Well, there might actually be a few good reasons to break that taboo.
As conversations around money and politics have grown increasingly distasteful, young people have missed out on important financial discussions. Combine that with rising prices, a difficult job market, and wage stagnation, it’s no wonder why one in three Millennials are behind on retirement savings.
What’s more is the Gen Z and Millennial generations are facing a sharp increase in the amount that will be required to live comfortably in retirement given recent inflation figures. In fact, new estimates show that if a young person today plans to quit working at age 62, they’ll need to stow away nearly $4 million for retirement.
These numbers might seem daunting at first glance, but that’s what makes it so important to start now. With the power of time and compound interest, the earlier a person can begin to put away money, the easier the burden is to carry. That’s why this Christmas might be the perfect time to bring the topic up in a light discussion, perhaps centered around hopes and expectations.
As you think about that conversation, here are a few ideas to consider on how you or your younger loved ones can begin to save for the future.
First, many of our places of employment offer retirement savings options, such as 401(k) accounts, and it’s crucial to take advantage of this benefit. Employer-sponsored accounts allow participants to capitalize on both automated savings through deductions and pre-tax contributions. For many, employers offer matches on 401(k) contributions with a now-maximum of $22,500, effective in 2023. This option provides a guaranteed way to begin financially preparing for the future. This is a great way to make saving for the future less burdensome, where savings are deducted from paychecks automatically, which makes saving and budgeting each month easier.
If you or your loved ones are currently unemployed, unable to work, or your employer doesn’t offer a 401(k)-account benefit, there are other options to consider as well.
An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) allows individuals to place retirement funds into a variety of safe investment options. You can also set up automatic deductions for an IRA, similar to a 401(k) plan.
At the very least, take time before the New Year to think about your own retirement, your loved ones’ retirement, and to build or rework your budget, meet with a professional financial planner, or visit Treasury.MS.gov/FinancialEducation for additional tools.
And, of course, as I’ve written about many times in this space, a college savings account makes a great gift for a loved one. We have two options – a prepaid tuition plan to lock in today’s rates to protect from future tuition increases – as well as a savings account that can be opened with as little as $25. Learn more about that and check for unclaimed money you may be missing at Treasury.MS.gov.
From my family to yours, Merry Christmas!
Mississippi Treasurer David McRae is the 55th Treasurer for the State of Mississippi. In this role, he helps manage the state’s cash flow, oversees College Savings Mississippi, and has returned more than $60 million in unclaimed money to Mississippians. For more information, visit Treasury.MS.gov.