If you have a job with a company that offers an employer-sponsored retirement plan, such as a 401(k) or 403(b), you have to take advantage of it as soon as you possibly can.  At the least, you should contribute enough to take advantage of any company match. So at minimum, you should contribute the maximum amount your employer will match. Otherwise, you will be tossing away free dollars. Each time you get a pay increase, contribute half of your raise amount to this retirement account until you reach the maximum allowed. When you reached the maximum 401K contributions, look into annual contributions to a Roth or traditional IRA.