Clearly, saving money is #1 when it comes to being ready for retirement, and while there are differing opinions on what plan is best, I'm pretty reliable in investing a portion of every check. I started late, but (hopefully) there's still time to catch up. 

I don't know anything about planning for retirement beyond "just save as much money as possible," though.  I don't want to end up waiting too long to consult with an adviser -- but I also worry that I'll miss opportunities to maximize my savings just because I'm embarrassed about my lack of savings history. 

Does anyone feel like they waited too long to consult a professional? How about the other way around? 

Thank you! 

Original Post

Here's what I've learned: #1 The earlier you start thinking about it and putting money away, the better. You don't have to start big, but you need to start.
#2a Are you working and does your employer offer a 401k? If yes, take full advantage of it. At minimum, make sure you're contributing enough so that you get their full match. It's probably 3 to 5% of your annual salary. Do this if you can - it's free money!
#2b If there's no 401k, then open a ROTH or IRA account. Do a Roth if you think you're earning less now than you will in the future. 
#3 If you have a savings account, make sure you open a high yield savings account and keep it there. You'll be surprised at the different in the monthly interest rate you get now and what you'll get in the high yield savings account.
4# For me, the above made the biggest differences. Now I'm slowly starting to learn about stocks. However, if your company offers a stock purchase plan, take advantage of it as they get to buy stocks at a reduced rate. You'll be surprised at how quickly even contributing a small amount to this adds up.

Good luck! Hope this helps. It's stuff you can do now until you feel you're ready for a financial planner.

THESUGARFREELIFE the bad thing is when your disable or
married to some one disabled your only aloud so much asset.
If your assets are more than what the government said you can have
you lose your befits. I know this because i'm disabled and so is my
husband but i work and because i make $50 more than a couple gets
from ssi they have now taken $800 from us. that hurts. All so i reported
changes last month to medical and now they have taken him off he 16 and
has depressions. I called medical and they said he filed under some thing else but
now i've to watch  him no because i don't have the money for his meds.

My job required us to use a financial planner as our retirement funds were placed in different IRA/401K, or which ever term was used during the different years. (actually different financial planners were named over 35ish years). I lucked out having one who had served on the pension board for our state and knew the ends and outs.  People talk about financial planners as managing money, but they can be so much more if you use them.  Go to them with ideas of how you want your money invested, go to them when emergencies occur.  If you hate stocks and bonds, more and more are purchasing the 'best price' bank cd's from around the country.  But where my own personal planner proved to be a gem - he helped me navigate the steps that were needed to be followed for retirement.  I had never thought of that as a financial planner's job - and it was immensely helpful to me.

@crice I was just recently at a meeting with my mentor where I had the opportunity of sitting and listening to him talk to a couple of his friends (1 business person and 1 salesman) about different financial topics.

The topic of a financial advisor came up and he recommended the salesman should possibly get one as he is doing well in his job but could use some help with certain aspects of managing his finances.

But when it comes to financial advisors, they did mention that it is limited how much they can be of help to you. A lot of times they are helpful in certain areas of finances but in other areas they can provide very little if any assistance.

One thing my mentor mentioned is to find one that is fee based rather than commission based as the ones that are commission based will generally try to sell you things, (even if you don't need them) because that is how they earn a living.

Financial advisors can be a good thing but even better is finding a good financial mentor. I have the privilege of having as a mentor a man who has become a multimillionaire with real estate who I met when I was just a kid and when he had not yet made even a million.

By far I can say that having a mentor has taught me much more than I have learned from online courses and even some books. Even just being able to sit and listen in on a conversation provides tons of valuable financial insights that I hope to apply to my life.

If you can find someone who will be willing to mentor you, that would be your best route!

I would also like to add a little as this discussion is about a financial advisor and I have already worked with many of them since my graduation. A financial advisor/investment advisor is very important for anyone who is thinking to save or invest his money. Companies hire complete teams of professionals with command over investment ideas and risk management. Small firms hire freelance advisors or small firms for their consultation. So the answer to your query is simple, Yes, a financial advisor is very helpful for an individual or a company both. To start from now, I will recommend the one brilliant firm, Open Advisors. They are based in San Francisco but may help you in other locations as well.

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