For most young people, the idea of retirement seems like a faraway, long-term issue that doesn’t need to be addressed for years. Most people in their 20s are still figuring out what they want to do with their lives, including starting a family and looking for steady employment. In addition, many college graduates are just beginning to feel the sting of student loan debt that is going to follow them around for many years to come. Their long-term goals are focused on tangible items like their first house or a car. Contrary to popular belief, however, saving for retirement as early as possible makes a big difference, even if it doesn’t appear to benefit your immediate life in any way.

Retirement nest eggs are much harder to grow the longer you wait. As soon as a mortgage or car payments or other financial responsibilities are thrown into the mix, retirement savings can easily get pushed further and further to the back burner. It is important to make use of your most valuable asset, which is time. 

Unless you possess a keen financial sense for mapping out your retirement goals, it is widely advised to hired a financial planner. They can help you identify what your retirement goals are and help establish a profile based on your age, the age and location you plan to retire, the amount you’re able to save each month, and any and all assets and liabilities.

When it comes time to actually invest, compound interest is one of the best tools of the trade when it comes to playing the long game of savings. Each year, the amount of interest earned on an account balance is added to the account, increasing it by that much. The following year, interest is accrued on this newer, larger account balance. Over time this means that your account balance increases exponentially. Choosing a mutual fund gives an even better return on your investment because the interest rate is higher. There are also robo-advisors that can help with investments in the stock market. By investing small but at a young age, the value will exponentially increase over time.

Another way to start planning for your retirement is to utilize your employer-based retirement plan. Some companies will even match the employee contribution up to a certain point. In addition, you get the advantage of having it be a pre-tax deduction.