BOSTON (CBS) – Ask any 65-year-old what they would have done differently and 90% will tell you that they should have started saving sooner! And saved more!

And if I could sit down with every 20-year-old this would not be a problem! Young workers think they have all the time they need to save for retirement, so they can start later.

If you have a job you should be saving for retirement. No excuses allowed here. Retirement planning should start with your first job. You may not have a lot of money to contribute to the plan but it always amazes me how much you can accumulate if you start early, because you have time on your side. A very long time!

For example, if you start with your first job at age 22 and you are able to put away $1,000 a year for the next 45 years until you are 67 and able to collect your full Social Security benefit, and we assume a 8% return which is doable over 45 years, you could have close to $500,000 in your nest egg. Not bad!

But what if every time you get a raise you share that raise with your retirement plan? Well in 45 years you could have over a $1 million in that account. That’s not shabby and what that means is you won’t have to work at Walmart or Home Depot to supplement your Social Security income unless you want to.

So what will it take to save that $1,000 a year? What can you do differently to save some bucks? Pack your lunch. Make coffee in the morning at home. You can still have your Dunkin Donuts coffee, but now you buy it by the pound instead of the cup. You can also get the Dunkin Donuts K-cups now.

Eat breakfast at home before you leave for work. Cook dinner at home instead of doing take-out! That’s another biggie!

Borrow DVDs, books, and music from the library. Use public transportation, pump your own gas, visit mom on Sunday and eat free. I just had to throw that one in! That’s what my kids used to do and they took home the leftovers for lunches!

Money Conference Alert!!

On October 11th I will be the key note speaker at The Money Conference which is a FREE one-day event presented by The Office of Massachusetts State Treasury. It will be held at UMASS Boston and the first 500 registrants will get a free copy of my newest book, Money, Your Personal Finance Guide.

There will be afternoon classes on everything from budgeting to buying a house. The Financial Planning Association of Boston will have volunteer financial planners there to help answer questions. You can set up a meeting with a Money Mentor when you register. If you have questions about the conference, contact Sheila O’Loughlin of the State Treasury at (617) 367-6900 ext 615.

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