Yeah, so, for reals. When I was first starting out in the ol’ career world, I put off funneling money into a retirement fund because I felt like I just couldn’t do it, that I simply wasn’t earning enough to toss a few bones into an account I wouldn’t see for another 40-odd years. Big mistake. And, like I said, by the time I realized how stupid I was, I was ready to leave my first job and wasn't fully vested, meaning that I literally lost thousands in my employer match and will, quite frankly, never be able to make that up. Barf.
I don’t have a ton of regrets in life, but that’s definitely one of them. I’m constantly reading articles like this one from CNN Money that sucker punch me with joyous little tidbits like:
Here's an example of what a big difference starting young can make. Say you start at age 25, and put aside $3,000 a year in a tax-deferred retirement account for 10 years - and then you stop saving - completely. By the time you reach 65, your $30,000 investment will have grown to more than $472,000, (assuming an 8% annual return), even though you didn't contribute a dime beyond age 35.
Now let's say you put off saving until you turn 35, and then save $3,000 a year for 30 years. By the time you reach 65, you will have set aside $90,000 of your own money, but it will grow to only about $367,000, assuming the same 8% annual return. That's a huge difference.
Long story short, the general rules re: saving for retirement seem to simply be: 1) Do it. 2) Do it as early as possible. 3) Do it as much as possible, at the very least up to any potential employer match. (As always, talk to your financial adviser before making any decisions!)
Moral of the story: When it comes to your retirement, don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. It could literally mean an enormous difference in all the adventures you can or cannot have in retirement.
And also, sleep on your back. It allegedly prevents wrinkles.