Most financial experts agree that it’s never too early to begin planning for retirement. The sooner that you begin to save and invest, the sooner you can retire and live comfortably in the Golden Years. When you want to learn how to plan for your retirement and meet your goals, there are a few important steps to take immediately:

1. Avoid Touching Your Retirement Savings

One of the most common challenges for those who are planning for their retirement is to touch their retirement savings. It can be difficult to avoid pulling out the money when you want to purchase a home or are trying to pay for your child’s college education. This will cause you to lose principal and interest, in addition to a number of tax benefits. You may even suffer from withdrawal penalties, which can cause delays with your plan.

2. Place Your Money in an IRA

Plan for your retirement by placing your money in an IRA, which allows you to place up to $5,500 a year if you’re under the age of 50. If you’re over the age of 50, you can contribute a higher amount. IRAs even provide a number of different tax advantages, which depends on the option that you select when choosing a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA. You can allow it to grow at a faster rate by selecting a specific amount to be automatically deducted from your checking or savings account each month.

3. Devise a Plan

Create a specific retirement plan with the help of a certified financial advisor who can help you to set specific goals that are realistic to your income. Start saving small and set a goal to continue increasing your savings each year. Make saving a priority and track your progress periodically to ensure that you’re on track.

4. Contribute to Your Employer’s Retirement Savings Plan

Take advantage of your employer’s retirement savings plan and contribute as much as you can afford, which will allow your taxes to be lower with automatic deductions that allow you to save at a faster rate. Research how much you’ll need to contribute to get the full employer contribution, which will increase your savings over time. The savings plan through your employer will also help you to reach retirement sooner due to tax deferrals and compound interest, which increases what you’ll end up accumulating over the years.

When you change jobs or careers, you’ll have the option of leaving the savings invested in the current retirement plan, rolling it over to an IRA, or transferring it over to your new employer’s retirement plan to ensure that there aren’t any delays when you want it to continue to grow.