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Retirement is a concept that seems so distant to us in our 20s and 30s. We figure that at some point we will start investing but it’s not the biggest priority. We have student loan debt to attack and happy hours to attend as well as attend every other social event which requires a new outfit for each one. The truth is that if you don’t make investing a priority now, it will haunt you when you hit retirement age. No one wants to constantly think about investment funds and portfolios. The truth is that you can easily set up your investment contributions on auto-pay so that you can be sure that you won’t be eating ramen daily in your retirement years.

Here are some tips how to get started with investing and to streamline your contributions:

Don’t trade your financial goals for a closet full of shoes. First and foremost, it’s important to make retirement saving a priority and it’s easier to do so when you automate your investment savings. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the things you can buy when you are single and have a great job and no major responsibilities. But the problem is that lots of shoes and clothing and trips now won’t feed, clothe, and house you when you are older. Investing in your earlier years gives your retirement dollars more time to grow exponentially and you will have to do less catch-up investing when you are in your 40s and 50s.

Set up your 401K or 403b retirement contributions at work if you don’t already contribute. Retirement savings through your employer’s 401k or 403b plans are a great way to automate savings through payroll deductions. Usually there is a match by your employer as well to add to your savings. And the best part is that your contributions are made pre-tax which lowers your taxable income! Make sure you understand the investment funds you are investing in. Reach out to your financial advisor (or seek out a financial advisor) if you don’t understand what you are investing in. If Warren Buffet – one of the richest people – doesn’t invest in things he doesn’t understand, neither should you!

Set up auto-transfer with your financial services institutions for other investment accounts. Outside of your 401k or 403b, you may be interested in other investments, like mutual funds, stocks or IRAs. Once you have determined with your financial advisor what sort of investments you want to contribute to, decide what amount you want to set aside each month and put the contributions on auto-pay. This way you are paying yourself and your future-self first before anything else.

Review your contributions on a yearly basis (at minimum) to adjust for any lifestyle changes. Sometimes you need to put investing on hold due to a life change, such as a job loss or a major medical event. Whatever the case is, make sure you turn off those auto-payments, so you can use that cash flow for current immediate needs. Once the crisis has passed, you can resume the auto-pays. Another trick to increase your contributions with little pain is to increase your contribution when you get a pay raise or bonus. Make sure to change your auto-pays

Use apps to help you invest without even thinking about it. There are many apps out there that can help you save money. One of my favorites is Acorns. The way the app works is that you give it access to any cards or accounts that you authorize. For every purchase you make, Acorns will round up that purchase and the extra change will be invested in funds that you choose. You can go about your day-to-day purchases and be investing at the same time. Use this app to boost your retirement savings along with your other investments.

How are you automating your investing?