You may know him as the economics teacher in Ferris Bueller's Day Off
—but did you know that Ben Stein is also a real-life expert on retirement? The actor, lawyer, economist and author has written many books over the last few years, including Yes, You Can Still Retire Comfortably
, as well as a column for The New York Times
and Yahoo! Finance. He also serves as spokesman for the National Retirement Planning Coalition. And now, he's joining Jean to teach you, decade by decade, everything you need to know about building your nest egg.
In your teens:
- Start saving when you are a teenager to get ahead of the game, and start a habit of putting money aside for the future, Ben says.
- Get a cheap hobby, like reading the newspaper or going on long nature walks every day.
- Don't smoke, use drugs or drink to excess. These are financial decisions because they are expensive, they cut off your life span and they increase your medical expenses.
In college and right after:
- Go to the best college and the best graduate school if you can. However, Ben says that if you do well at any school, you'll get a job. It's an investment.
- Get a job you enjoy that will pay your bills.
- Save, even if it's just in a very small way. Every dollar you save in your 20s is equivalent to $8 at retirement age because of compound interest, Ben says.
- Don't have a credit card unless you pay it off each month.
In your 30s:
- Get serious or you're getting in the danger zone. "The power of compound issues can still work miracles for you," Ben says.
- Don't try and be the wolf of Wall Street—just track the markets with your investments.
In your 40s:
- If you've been saving since your 20s, you can still save 10 percent of your pre-tax income. If not, you need to be saving very seriously—20 percent at the minimum.
- If you're married, from a financial perspective, it's a good idea to stay that way. Divorce can bust your finances.
- Have a will.
In your 60s:
- Pay attention to inflation, and have enough savings to live off of and cover inflation.