If you are lucky enough to have a job with a company that offers an employer-sponsored retirement plan, such as a 401(k) or 403(b), you must take advantage of it as soon as you can. At minimum, you should contribute enough to take advantage of any employer match. So at minimum, you should be contributing the maximum amount your employer will match. Otherwise, you will be throwing away free money. Each time you get a raise in salary, contribute 50% of your raise amount to this account until you’re at the maximum allowed. When you reached the maximum amount allowed for 401K contributions, look into annual contributions to a Roth or traditional IRA.