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25% of millennials tap retirement funds: How to turn it around

Millennials who want to save adequately for retirement

Millennials who want to save adequately for retirement must create a budget and stick to it -- and start saving as early as possible, experts say.

Millennials continue to make headlines. A recent UBS Investor Watch report found that 25 percent of millennials have dipped into their retirement accounts — a move that can trigger taxes — and another third would consider it.

“Often the money was for a house down payment or to pay down student loan debt,” says Sameer Aurora, head of client strategy for UBS Wealth Management in Manhattan.

A GOBankingRates survey found that 72 percent of millennials, ages 18 to 34, have saved less than $10,000 for retirement — or nothing.

“Many feel retirement is so far off they don’t need to worry about it,” says Aurora.

Millennials aren’t like their parents. In the UBS study, only 13 percent of baby boomers had dipped into their retirement money, and 13 percent were willing to consider it.

What’s key to turn millennials around?

  • Create a budget. “Figure out where you stand, how much you owe and how much you regularly spend. Then create a budget and stick to it,” says Saul Simon, a certified financial planner with Simon Financial Group in Edison, New Jersey.
  • Consider a Roth IRA. “If you must borrow, you’re better off with a Roth IRA,” says Joseph Carbone Jr., managing partner of Focus Planning Group in Bayport. “It is the most flexible and forgiving if you need to borrow before age 59½. When qualifying conditions are met, funds can be withdrawn tax-free.”
  • Think long term. “Millennials have greater longevity; the need to start young on retirement planning is paramount,” Aurora says.

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