When the holidays come, the money goes — usually for presents and parties, greeting cards and traveling to see family. Before you spend that last holiday buck, make sure you set some cash aside for retirement as a gift to yourself.
If you haven't started already, now is the time to begin saving for your retirement -- no matter what your age. If retirement is near, you'll want to hop on a fast sled right away. If you're younger and retirement seems a lifetime away, it's still in your best interest to begin saving now -- compound interest will help your retirement fund to snowball.
Don't take our word for it. You can check out the numbers yourself. A great way to start figuring out how much you will need for retirement is to learn how much you could expect from Social Security. You can do that in minutes with Social Security's online Retirement Estimator.
The Retirement Estimator offers an instant, personalized estimate of your future retirement benefits based on your earnings record and a few variables you enter. Try it out at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator.
We encourage saving for retirement, but there are reasons to save for every stage of life. A great place to go for help is www.mymoney.gov. MyMoney.gov is the U.S. government's website dedicated to teaching about financial planning. Whether you are planning to buy a home, balancing your checkbook, or investing in your 401(k) plan, the resources at www.MyMoney.gov can help you.
Be sure to give yourself a holiday gift you deserve. Not only should you set aside some money for your retirement fund, but you should also spend some time looking at these websites and picturing your future retirement. Spend a little bit of holiday time at socialsecurity.gov.
Submit questions to local Social Security Director Martin Coffey by writing to Business Editor Dave Flessner, Chattanooga Times Free Press, P.O. Box 1447, Chattanooga, TN 37401-1447, or by e-mailing him at email@example.com.