BOSTON (CBS) – I heard from pre-retirees who had wished they had met me when they were 25. They regretted not starting to save for retirement until they were older.

Their advice was simple, the earlier you start the easier it is. If you have a job you should be saving for retirement. No excuses allowed here. Retirement planning should start with your first job.

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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 at age 22, and you put away $1,000 a year for the next 45 years until you are 67 and we assume an 8% return which is doable over 45 years, you could have close to $500,000 in your nest egg.

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

Many current retirees tell me they could have saved more if they had planned. So what it will 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 Donut’s coffee, but you buy it by the pound instead of the cup. Dunkin Donut’s K-cups are now available also.

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Cook meals at home. Limit take out or restaurants to once a week or less.

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 their lunches!

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You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m. and 3:55 p.m.

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