Step 1: Calculate how much you need to save
Opening a retirement account begins with setting a goal. Consider your target retirement date and how long you’ll expect to be retired based on current life expectancy.
Step 2: Choose a savings vehicle
Keep in mind that investments in equities or other securities are more risky than savings accounts, which allows for the possibility of better returns. Still, young investors can typically take on additional risk, since they have time to recover after a market decline.
401(k) A 401(k) is an employer sponsored retirement account, meaning you invest in it through your workplace, if your employer offers it.
Traditional IRAs are not offered through employers. Anyone can open one as long as they have earned income. Depending on your income and access to other retirement savings accounts, you may be able to deduct contributions to a traditional IRA on your taxes.
Unlike 401(k)s and traditional IRAs, savings go into Roth IRAs with after-tax dollars and provide no immediate tax benefit. However, money inside the account grows tax-free and it isn’t subject to income tax when withdrawals are made after age 59 ½.
The investment strategy you choose will depend largely on three things: your goals, time horizon and risk tolerance. These factors will help you determine your asset allocation, what types of assets you hold and in what proportion.