Think about the word, "retirement." Most likely, you'll picture an elderly couple eating early-bird dinners and playing bingo at a group living facility in Florida. But retirement can be so much more than that. First of all, you don't necessarily have to be old in order to retire. It's the period where all of the hard work we've done finally pays off, and it's different for everyone.

What's this you say? You're not anywhere near retirement? It doesn't matter. What you do now will keep you in good shape for the future. Think about it like exercise. You don't want to start exercising only when you're told to do so by a doctor, or else. In a similar way, "financial exercise" is a way to develop healthy habits to ensure that you'll be able to have a stress-free retirement. Here are a few things to know.

Commitment is the key.

We know the C-word can be scary, but when it comes to work, know that it's called that for a reason. If you're always looking for your next "dream job", you'll never be able to focus on your current job and gain the skills necessary to advance along your career path when the time is right. Moving up the corporate ladder is only possible if you show consistency.

Talk to successful people.

Have you just read an article by a young entrepreneur who made a fortune and is now spending the rest of his or her life lounging in the Caribbean? It's one thing to get inspired by what you read, but it's another to build a relationship with someone you admire. Send them an email, or give them a call. Don't be intimidated by successful people. Chances are, they'll want to tell you about their struggles and tricks of the trade. Don't get bogged down by negative peers that have a poor outlook on their financial future. Always look up, and be sure to take notes.

Invest before you rest.

Investing is not just for fancy Wall Street folks. Anyone can invest. It's a great way to make some extra income. If you're totally confused, don't worry. CNN Money will guide you with 4 questions you should ask yourself before you invest. For example, you can invest in stocks or property. We also suggest looking into a Roth IRA. For more information to see if you qualify, check this out.

Know about your employer's benefits.

You've probably heard the term, "401(k)" before, but do you know what it means? A 401(k) is a plan sponsored by your employer that helps you save retirement funds by taking a certain percentage from your pre-tax paycheck. Some companies match your withdrawal, making the savings plan even more profitable for your retirement. Find out more about the different types of 401(k)s here.

Write down your goals and save.

Retirement for some might look like daiquiris on the beach. But for others, work makes us feel complete, and we'll never want to stop working. Figure out what you want. When do you want to retire? What do really want to do with your life after work? Having clear goals in mind will help encourage you to stay on track. Then, develop a plan to save. Check out these awesome resources to help you start saving for requirement, today.

Now that wasn't so bad, was it? Pat yourself on the back. You deserve it.


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