How Old Were You When You Started Saving For Retirement? 

"Save early and save often" is the mantra of just about every personal finance expert. But we all get started on our retirement savings journey at different times. When did you start and what prompted you to do it?

Every year counts. Wells Fargo's retirement study found that workers aged 55-59 had saved three times as much as those age 60 or older, simply through the power of compound interest and starting earlier. (The 55-59 group started saving at an average age of 31, while those 60 and older started at an average age of 37.)

If you are or were late to the game, though, there are still ways to catch up, from being a bit more frugal so you can make catch up contributions to adjusting your asset allocation for more risk (which, obviously, involves more risk).

Let's share when we started, the things that jump started our retirement planning, and what we're doing at this point (whether trying to catch up or just coasting along on super).


    A couple of years after we got married so I guess... 32-ish?

    Although being a double-income-no-kids household means we have a bit of an unfair advantage in terms of our saving capacity - we tend to live off one income and save the other. Was all going nicely until the share market decided to go toes up to start the year :P

      So long as you're not planning on retiring in the next year or so, what's happening to the share market at the moment won't make much difference. If it's affected your super, then you must be in a higher risk investment category where negative returns are expected anywhere from 1 in 3 to 1 in 10 years (depending on category). All the losses made during the GFC have been well and truly recouped now - provided people didn't cash out and 'lock in' those losses.

        Yeah, I'm certainly not selling anything anytime soon!

        My super is just in a standard balanced category. But I don't really look at it very often - in all honesty, I don't think super will be anywhere near enough to retire on (certainly not comfortably). We're hoping to get enough saved/invested on our own that we can afford to retire on it, and whatever we end up with from our super will be a bonus on top of that.

          Depends on your age and how much you put in. I've been lucky to work in the university sector for the last 25 years. Super contribution from employer is 17%. Currently have about $550k in high growth (high risk). The government mandated 9% really isn't enough. The current government quietly shelved the increase to the minimum, which is pretty bad. With my wife's super as well, we should be pretty set to retire at 60 and not worry. But we're lucky, like I said. I certainly wouldn't be relying on the age pension in the future.

    Australia here - it's automatic so when I got my first job. I was a bit late so probably 19 or 20?

    good ol super annuation for us Australians

    other than the standard super contributions I started adding extra when I was 28 realising if I want to retire early then I'd need more.

      You do realise there's a preservation age before which you can't access your super. If you mean 'retire early' before your preservation age - not going to happen with super. However, if you mean retire at preservation age (60 for most people) instead of later because you don't have enough super, then that's ok.

    I started when I was like 18 or so... Complementary Super

    Like a few others, when I started working at 19. 5% super, plus co-contributions were the default, and I've never changed from that.

    Its also a defined benefit scheme so I'm looking pretty solid.

    Well, if you ask me, the most critical part of preparing for retirement is just having a plan. Whether you use a spreadsheet or a tool like OnTrajectory or some other website -- you have to get everything out in front of you so you can make smarter decisions. Once you do that, then implementing your disciplined retirement strategy becomes critical.

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