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You're Never Too Cute or Too Young

Retirement may seem like a long way away (and, unless you're the next Warren Buffet, it is), but Granny always said that time flies—and you have to believe anyone who could whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies that tasty.

I'm definitely too young. Cute, though? That's in the eye of the beholder.

You should start thinking about retirement as soon as you get your first paycheck. Many Americans didn't do that, and now they can't afford to pay for basics like food, shelter, heat, medicine, and ear waxing services.

Trust us: you don't want to get to 65 and be unable to work only to find out that you don't have enough cash in the bank to pay for basics. If you have a bunch of cute kids and grandkids, they may be willing to help out—or they might be pissed that you don't have any money to leave them when you die.

It's best to be prepared with savings of your own.

What Do You Need to Start Saving for Retirement?

(1) Savings.

Saving may seem less sexy than buying a red Porsche or traveling the world, but savings are what allow you to buy what you need. Say "YOLO" once too often and you may not be socking away enough cash to deserve a nice life later on.

(2) A 401(k) or other retirement plan.

If you have a job (or get one at one point), your boss may offer to help match your 401(k) or retirement contributions. You should get on that immediately because it's as close to free money as you're ever going to get. You give yourself $20 and your boss gives you $20 (even if he's too cheap to put good soap in the employee washroom). Easy peasy.

If you start investing early, you won't have to put away as much each month, and pretty soon, you'll see your retirement fund grow. Your retirement savings are tax-deductible and can even be used as an asset that can help you land a loan.

(3) Investments and assets.

Your retirement fund is an investment, but there's a limit on how much you can put in there. That's where "diversifying your portfolio" comes in (yeah, you've heard it in every bad Wall Street movie ever). All it means is that you should invest in more than one thing, so that if one investment doesn't work out, you still have other stuff that can make you money. Even with a retirement fund, be sure to look into other securities.

(4) Insurance.

You're going to burn through your retirement fund and savings really fast if you don't have insurance and you get hurt driving your Bugatti or just paddling around in a canoe at your beach house. Health insurance, home insurance, disability insurance, and other types of coverage make sure that all your money doesn't go towards a big accident or big disaster.

(5) A legal will.

As soon as you own anything besides your game collection and dog, you should have a legal will. It makes sure your property (including your assets) go where you want them to go.

(6) Time.

This one will take care of itself.

Eventually, you'll no longer be able to work. By that time, hopefully, you'll have had time to work up a retirement account that lets you relax in the Dominican and doesn't leave you shivering in a basement apartment.

The matter how rosy-cheeked you are and how strict your plans for future Botox might be, there will come a day when you will want to retire and start living the good life. When that day comes, you'll hopefully have a nice nest egg set aside for you and anyone else in your life who's going to be hitting up the singles cruise circuit for seniors with you.

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