Tina Di Vito, head of BMO's Retirement Institute, offers a few tips on how to stop stalling and start saving:
1. Start saving early. The payoff for starting to save early is substantial. A 25-year-old who puts aside $500 a month for 20 years (for a total of $120,000), at 5-per-cent compounding interest, will wind up with $540,448 at age 65. That's 33 per cent more savings than a 45-year-old who puts aside $1,000 per month for 20 years (for a total of $240,000) and winds up with $407,378 at age 65. Such is the power of compounding - the strongest argument there is for starting to save early.
2. Create a budget and control your spending. If you have a budget, you tend to spend within your means and save more. Monitor your spending for a month or so, tracking your financial statements and receipts. Doing so will determine what you're spending your money on and help you identify where you can cut costs to find the savings you need for retirement.
3. Set financial goals and monitor your progress regularly. Your goal could be as simple as wanting to save $50 a week. Write it down and use your budget to track your progress each month.
4. Sign up for your company's pension plan. If your employer offers any sort of group RSP or pension, sign up immediately. It's free money. Even if you think the job is temporary, you never know what will happen. The contributions come out automatically, so you won't even miss the money and you'll learn to live on what's left.
5. Make full use of tax-favoured investment vehicles. If you put $100 in your RRSP, you generate a tax refund. You can take that refund and put it toward your debts. It's the best of both worlds.
6. Set up an automatic savings program. This can easily be done at any financial institution or bank website. Automatically divert some money into a savings account monthly. Once that money is out of sight, it will be out of mind and you'll be less likely to spend it.
7. Seek out financial help early. When you're suffering from information overload, a financial adviser can help you determine which investment products are appropriate for you and help you establish a savings routine.