Karen Smith
Executive Director
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Topic of the Month

Saving for Retirement  

Life happens. Even our best financial goals get put on the back burner from time to time. While we all know we should be saving for our futures, it’s easy to get off track when other things come up. A career change. A new baby. A child going to college. It’s even easier to take breaks from saving for retirement, since it can feel like a lifetime away before we will need to dip into it.

Knowing the ins-and-outs of retirement plans and investments can be daunting for newbies, but there are several reputable sites out there that can help you get started. Throughout May we will be taking a closer look at saving for retirement.

Below are a few tips, from a Daily Finance article, to consider when starting to organize your retirement savings plan:

Don't Interrupt Retirement Savings. It is all too easy to allow other priorities to crowd out your retirement savings. But don't stop saving for retirement!

  • Some people think that buying a home will be their main source of retirement savings. But there are significant risks in this plan. The home may not appreciate, and in retirement, you'll still need to pay for some place to live.
  • Often saving for retirement gets put on hold when a two-income household suddenly becomes a one-income household, such as often the case upon the birth of children. If one of you no longer is able to take advantage of an employer sponsored 401K, consider opening and contributing to an IRA.

Contribute 10 to 15 Percent. If you can, contribute 10 percent or more to your 401(k) plan. Also, as your income grows, more of it will be included in higher tax brackets. This makes the pre-tax contributions you can make into a 401(k) plan more valuable to you.

  • If your job offers you matching funds for contributing to your 401(k), 403(b) or other retirement plan, contribute at least as much as you have to in order to get the most from your match.

Put your retirement ahead of your kids' college. A huge part of parenting is making sacrifices for your children's well-being and their futures. When it comes to the choice between funding your retirement and funding their college educations, though, the answer is simple: Don't put a dime toward their educations until you've got a plan in place that adequately funds your retirement.

Visit the MCUCD website throughout the month of May, as we take a closer look at different retirement and investment plans. We will offer you the resources to get started. Again, it might seem like a lifetime a way, but the sooner you get started, the more comfortable and independent you will be. How do you want to spend your retirement? Traveling? Time with family? Volunteering? However you see yourself, there are financial experts out there that have recommendations on the best way to save or invest your money.

Additional Resources

Save and Invest  A project of the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, is a free, unbiased resource dedicated to your financial health.

My Retirement Paycheck  The National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE®) is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan and noncommercial foundation wholly dedicated to improving the financial well-being of all Americans.

Smart About Money is committed to educating Americans on a broad range of financial topics and empowering them to make positive and sound decisions to reach their financial goals. 


Montana Credit Unions for Community Development (or MCUCD) is the award-winning, charitable arm of the Montana Credit Union Network. A state-wide nonprofit organization, MCUCD works together with the state's credit unions to improve the lives and financial independence of all Montanans.