Calculate how much you need to retire. You can expect you’ll need an income that’s between 70 and 90 percent of your last salary. Take an honest look at your career path. Predict your highest income. Estimate how much you’ll need to save each month in order to build a nest-egg big enough to generate that revenue. Calculate the amount of Social Security you’re likely to receive. It won’t be enough to live on but it will make your financial planning easier. Figure out how much you’ll need to save taking your Social Security benefits into account.

If you’re not already saving, start saving now.

If your company has a 401(k) plan with matching contributions, max them out. Make sure that you’re paying in all you must in order to receive those matching funds. There’s no reason that you should be taking from your employer less than it’s willing to offer. To fail to take all of the matching contributions is like giving money to the owners of the company for the pleasure of working for them. That’s never a good idea.

In addition to maxing out your 401(k), look into funding an IRA. You’ll be able to add some extra money to your retirement fund. You’ll also be able to save money on your taxes at the same time.

Track the growth of those funds. Get into the habit of contributing each month, and increase the contributions as your financial situation improves. Pay in more when you pay off your student loans or win a pay rise. After you receive an inheritance or write your last mortgage check, look into buying an annuity that will give an extra revenue stream.

The hardest part of retirement is preparing for it. But once you start you’ll find it’s a winning habit.