If you’re like most people, your retirement plans probably include you living on a beach somewhere with your toes in the sand and responsibilities far, far away. But, we know the reality is, retirement looks different for everyone. And even though it feels sooo far away, it has a funny way of sneaking up on you. So, in order to live your happiest retired life, we recommend you always consult trusted advisors and most importantly, that you start thinking about your savings…now.

It doesn’t have to be complicated—just keep these things in mind!

Consider opening a retirement account ASAP
People who begin saving for retirement in their mid-30s (or earlier if you can!) and retiring at 65, will produce high required saving rates. So just think how far ahead of the game you’ll be if you start now. Talk to someone at your bank or an accountant. There are also plenty of financial management apps that can help you get going.

401(k) 101
If your job offers a 401(k), consider contributing to it. The money you put into a 401(k) is automatically deducted from your paycheck, so you likely won’t even realize you’re saving each month—but trust us, you are and it adds up! Many company 401(k) plans also have the benefit of a company match, which means they’ll add in company dollars on top of your personal contribution. That’s like free money!

Explore the benefits of an IRA
If you don’t have access to a 401(k) don’t freak out. Consider opening an IRA. An IRA is like an I.O.U. to your future self. It stands for Individual Retirement Account and it allows you to take advantage of the wonders of compound interest. Look into a traditional IRA, in which the money you contribute isn’t taxed until you withdraw it when you retire. Or consider a Roth IRA, in which your contributions are taxed before being added to the savings, but withdrawals are tax free.

Live within your means
It’s okay to splurge on special occasions or a girls’ weekend now-and-then, but in your daily life, try to make a concerted effort to live a lifestyle in line with your wallet. Forget trying to live lavishly. Instead, trust that you'll reap financial rewards in the future if you're smart about your money now.

Talk to a money mentor
If you really want to be smart about your money, consider consulting a professional financial advisor. You work hard for your money—and your money should work just as hard for you. A professional can help give you a short-term (this month's rent) and long-term (retire in style) plan that will help you reach your goals.