For college grads, 75 is new 62 for retirement planning

The numbers are not adding up for recent college graduates counting on a comfortable retirement.

New data from NerdWallet.com, a financial information website, suggests young people, on average, will work 13 years longer than today's typical retirees.

Right now the average retirement age is a youthful 62. But for the class of 2015, seventy-five will be the average expected age, NerdWallet said. Given a normal life expectancy of 84 for someone now 23 years old, that leaves less than a decade to enjoy the golden years without the 9-to-5 grind.

It is a one-two punch. Along with a certificate, graduates are leaving school with considerable student debt. College graduates, on average, put out $4,239 per year to repay such debt, according to NerdWallet (nerdwallet.com).

In addition, young people are spending more time in the rental market before buying homes. With home ownership, comes home equity and valuable tax deductions. The more years they pays rent, the longer this generation is missing out on the benefits of real estate investing.

All is not lost. Here are some ways to beat the clock:

First, young people can simply live at home for a while. That knocks rent right off the budget.

Live with family until age 25, and you can narrow the finish line to an age 70 retirement by five years, according to NerdWallet. 

But you cannot invest like grandma if you want to retire as young as she did. Young people need to be fearless, which often means putting the vast majority of assets into stocks.

Too many millennials are keeping cash on the sidelines, says Kyle Ramsey, investing manager at NerdWallet.

"They lived through a very turbulent financial period when they saw their parents finances hurt by the (credit) crisis," Ramsey says. "They are shell-shocked by the market and keeping their cash in savings accounts."

START WITH A 401(K)

The first place to start saving for retirement is generally a workplace 401(k) or an equivalent, if offered. In many such plans, employers match some worker contributions; that is like free money.

Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) are also key retirement vehicles, especially if you do not participate in a plan at work. Traditional IRAs can be seeded with pre-tax dollars, while contributions to Roth IRAs are made with after-tax money.

Certified Financial Planner Carina Diamond of SS&G Wealth Management suggests a three-pronged approach to younger clients: Cut debt, invest more and make sure you have an emergency fund.

Most of all, have a financial plan. Unlike grandpa, young people today can tap into a new breed of investment companies for help, including robo-advisers, which use automated algorithm-based financial planning.

One of the largest robo-advisers is Wealthfront, which requires a $500 minimum investment but will manage the first $10,000 for free. Competitor Betterment has no minimum and charges as little as a 0.15 percent management fee.

Diamond also advises spending an hour with a fee-based financial planner, who can make sure you are not overlooking any circumstances that might not be picked up by the robo-advisers' algorithm.

The key message for today's college grads? Work does not have to be a grind.

"Fewer millennials are in jobs that they hate. Some of their parents were miserable dragging themselves to work," Diamond notes.

Those paydays may go on a bit longer, but the payoff will be there when retirement eventually arrives.

(The author is a Reuters contributor. The opinions expressed are her own.)

(Editing by Lauren Young)

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