If your a young college student like me and the rest of our class you are probably wondering what are the best ways to secure a safe future. In order to best prepare for your eventual retirement there are keys steps that need to taken which will ensure a smooth ride to the finish. Start early: You can't predict market downturns or what happens to Social Security. But you can control how much you save, and the sooner you start, the easier it is to build a rock-solid nest egg
Save regularly: Saving $4,000 might be a stretch if you're just getting on your feet. But putting away even small amounts now can make a difference.
Say you land a job making $45,000. You sign up to contribute 3 percent to the company 401(k) plan, or about $52 every other week. If you do just that for the next 40 years, you'd have about $400,000 as you near retirement
Don't Confuse Saving with Investing.
I am sure many of you are intent on saving for a house, a car, higher education or something else. By all means, continue saving, but don't invest your savings in stocks and stock mutual funds if you plan to make a large purchase within the next four to five years. Remember, investing will work wonders for you, if and only if, you put time on your side. Time periods of less than five years may not give you enough time to recover from a substantial market drop.
Though some of you have never experienced a sustained down market ( otherwise known as a "Bear Market"), let me assure you that they are not a thing of the past.