It can be extremely difficult to motivate yourself to save for retirement when you\u2019re in your twenties. If you plan on retiring in your 60s, you\u2019ve got 40 years to save \u2014 but you have nights out, vacations, and clothes that you\u2019d rather spend your money on now.\r\n\r\nTo me, there are two main reasons young adults have a hard time choosing to save for retirement now.\r\n\r\nIn a world run on instant gratification, it\u2019s difficult for them to think about saving for something that requires patience. To them, it\u2019s so far down the road that it\u2019s easy to simply say, \u201cWhat\u2019s the point?\u201d\r\n\r\nAnother reason is that they are waiting for the perfect time or to reach a certain milestone. They use excuses like, \u201cI\u2019ll wait until I\u2019m debt-free\u201d or \u201cOnly rich people invest, so it\u2019s not my time yet.\u201d\r\n\r\nWhile I do have a strategic financial priority list that I will talk about in a minute, the fact of the matter is this: Retirement is the most costly expense of your life. It's more expensive than college, a house, or paying for your kids' college. And if you\u2019re waiting for the perfect time to start saving for retirement, it\u2019s now. What may be even more important than saving\u2014 you need to be investing.\r\n\r\nI\u2019ll let you in on a little secret: Retirement can be difficult to reach without investing\r\n\r\nI know\u2014 it\u2019s a hard pill to swallow.\r\n\r\n45% of Americans over age 55 have nothing saved for retirement. Almost half of Americans set to retire soon have absolutely nothing to sustain them.\r\n\r\nAnd minorities \u2014 women, people of color, LGBTQ, people with disabilities \u2014 are disproportionately affected by this poverty in old age.\r\n\r\nThis is why, after finding where you land on the financial priority list, you need to start investing, even if it\u2019s just $20 a month. Retirement may be, without a doubt, the largest expense of your life, and you to be as ready as you can be.\r\n\r\nWhen should I start saving for retirement?\r\nI\u2019m going to share my financial priority list with you, so you can monitor where you are and what you should focus on next when it comes to reaching all your financial goals.\r\n\r\n \tFirst and foremost\u2014 you need an emergency fund. This includes 3-6 months of living expenses in a high-yield savings or cash account.\r\n \tSecond\u2014 pay off high-interest debt. In other words, the one with the highest rate (this will most likely be credit card debt, or on occasion, student loan debt.)\r\n \tStart saving for retirement\u2014 Depending on which accounts you qualify for and preferred tax strategy, this looks like opening one of the several retirement tools like a 401K, IRA, SEP IRA or Solo IRA.\r\n\r\nThere is one exception, however, that lets you get started on step three without completing step two. This is in the event that you get a 401K employer match.\r\n\r\nA 401K is often granted to those in the private sector. It\u2019s a tax advantage retirement account and it\u2019s tied to your employer, making it a benefit. The coolest thing about a 401K is that oftentimes, your employer will offer to match it. This means that if you choose to contribute 3% of your salary, your employer will automatically contribute 3% as well. If this is the case, you may want to consider getting your 3-month emergency fund saved up and then contribute up to your employer match, before paying off high interest debt.\r\nVisualize\r\nPicture 65-year-old you. Fantasize about how amazing you'll be as a retiree.\r\n\r\nWho are you? What is a standard day-in-the-life for you? What's your favorite piece of clothing, hobby, place to travel? What are your hopes and dreams?\r\n\r\nFor me, I\u2019m lounging on a beach in Cabo, I have a collection of the cutest little handbags, and I often flirt with my much-younger Pilates instructor named Luca. (Basically, I\u2019m one of the Golden Girls.)\r\n\r\nVisualizing older you as, gasp, an actual person can help you feel motivated to save. People who create visual goals are more likely to achieve them \u2014 so do your best to picture what your ideal retirement would look like!\r\n\r\nThe Power of Compound Interest\r\nWe\u2019ve already established that investing your money is the only surefire way to retire one day. This looks like opening up a tax-advantaged retirement account like a 401K or IRA.\r\n\r\nThankfully, because of the power of something called compound interest, time matters more than the amount of money you choose to invest. Time, rather than the amount of money you are able to invest, is going to become your best friend. Compound interest is the result of calculating your interest earned over time by adding it to the principal investment. It only works if you choose to stay committed and keep your eyes on the long-term goal of that beach in Cabo, or whichever retirement lifestyle you picture for yourself.\r\n\r\nAnother way to think about the impact of growth over time is this penny example: If you were to have a magic penny that doubled every day for 30 days, you could wind up with $5,368,709.12.\r\n\r\nThis is the power of time. You only invested a penny, yet you had thirty days to watch it grow. This is why we have to get you investing now with an amount you are comfortable with. Not in a week, not in a few years, not \u201cwhen I\u2019m making more money.\u201d\r\n\r\nIt doesn't have to be a million dollars. It doesn\u2019t even have to be $100. You can just get started with $20 a month \u2014 every little bit counts. It doesn't matter how small it is, just get started.\r\n\r\nPut this money into a retirement account. The maximum contribution in 2020 is $19,000 a year. Just to be clear\u2014 having a 401K does make you an investor. You are indeed investing. So, make sure to recognize and celebrate that.\r\n\r\nAnd in 6 months, or 2 years, or 10 \u2014 when you're wondering WHY AM I PUTTING AWAY ALL OF THIS MONEY \u2014 remember older you. The older you deserves your hard work.\r\n\r\nStart Planning With Free Financial Tools\r\n\r\n*Personal Capital compensates Tori Dunlap (\u201cAuthor\u201d) for providing the content contained in this blog post. Additionally, in a separate referral arrangement between Author and Personal Capital Corporation (\u201cPCC\u201d), Author is paid $70 and $150 for each person who uses Author\u2019s webpage (www.HerFirst100k.com) to register with Personal Capital and links at least $100,000 in investable assets to Personal Capital\u2019s Free Financial Dashboard. As a result of these arrangements, Author may financially benefit from referring potential clients to Personal Capital and\/or be incentivized to present blog content that is favorable to PCC. No fees or other amounts will be charged to investors by Author or Personal Capital as a result of the Referral Arrangement. Investors that are referred to PCC and subsequently subscribe for investment advisory services provided by PCC\u2019s affiliated adviser, Personal Capital Advisors Corporation (\u201cPCAC\u201d) will not pay increased management fees or other similar compensation to Author, PCC or PCAC as a result of this arrangement. Additional information about PCAC is contained in Form ADV Part 2A available here.