"It is best to start early, but if it's too late for that, then just start." When it comes to saving, or creating personal wealth, truer words have not been spoken. If you're ready to start, great. Now how much should you save?

One of the first steps to take is finding out if your employer offers a match, as many employers are once again doing so. Instead of poring through the benefits handout you received on your first day, ask! Your HR representative can tell you if your company offers a match, as well as how much you need to contribute to receive the maximum employer contribution(note: a match is FREE MONEY). At the very least, you should be saving enough to get the entire match from your company. Again, employer match = FREE MONEY.

Once you've determined how the match works, save a bit more. I tell my clients to attempt to save 10% of the income in their 401(k). Sounds like a lot, with student loans, cell phone bills, and all the rest. But if I showed you how to turn $5,000 each year for ten years into $620,000, would you do it? Make it a personal goal to save 10% of your income each year and you'll be doing yourself quite a favor.

Finally - give yourself a raise. Set a date each year to increase your contribution by 1%. In many cases, this can be set up to happen automatically on a date that you choose. Chances are, you won't miss 1% of your income on a day-to-day basis. Nor will you be concerned when you read that nearly 1/3 of working-age baby boomers have no retirement savings at all.

Next week, we'll discuss how to choose investments within your plan. In the meantime, is it too late to start?

Chuck Wade

(This article contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Brighton Securities Corp. The author's opinions are subject to change without notice. This blog post is for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities).