Starting out | American Funds

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Life stages

Retirement Planning

Starting out

Just starting to invest? Don’t know where to begin? We’ve gathered the most useful resources from this website to help you get started.


What you need to know

  • Mutual fund basics

    Before making investment decisions, it’s important to learn the fundamentals of mutual funds, as well as their associated risks and benefits.

  • What are 401(k)s and other salary deferral plans?

    Employer-sponsored salary deferral plans make investing for retirement easy.

  • Why participate in a salary deferral plan?

    You can’t rely on Social Security alone to cover your retirement needs. Learn how an employer-sponsored retirement plan can help.

  • The value of a financial professional

    Learn how investors of all ages can benefit from the experience and guidance a financial professional can offer.

  • Ease into investing

    Starting to save today — rather than waiting — is key to reaching your retirement goals.

  • Understanding risk

    Finding the right balance of risk and reward is essential to helping you meet your long-term goals. Learn how to get comfortable with these elements of investing.

  • Playing catch-up

    Even if you’re getting a late start on saving for retirement, there may still be time to build up your nest egg.


American Funds Investors

Joyce Kimura: Teacher turned world traveler

Learn how former teacher Joyce Kimura got started by putting away $25 a month to reach her goal of traveling in retirement.


Plan Your Strategy

Build your retirement savings strategy using our sample portfolios as a guide.
See how a target date fund can serve as a complete portfolio that fits your timeline.
Does your retirement plan accept Roth contributions? Learn more about the Roth option.
Besides your retirement plan, there are other tax-deferred investment options to consider, from IRAs to variable annuities to special college savings programs.

Get a snapshot of how much you might need in retirement and whether your savings plan could get you to your goal. Then use the roadmap to help you decide how to invest your contributions. (Or use the Retirement planning calculator for more detailed results.)



Payroll deduction analyzer

When deciding how much to contribute to a retirement plan, this calculator shows how pretax payroll deductions affect your take-home pay


Tax-deferred investment calculator

Compare the growth rate of a tax-deferred investment with a taxable one.

Investments are not FDIC-insured, nor are they deposits of or guaranteed by a bank or any other entity, so they may lose value.

Investors should carefully consider investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. This and other important information is contained in the fund prospectuses and summary prospectuses, which can be obtained from a financial professional or downloaded and should be read carefully before investing.