Many people think they can hold off saving for retirement at younger ages and make up the difference later. Savvy investors know this can be a costly mistake. Waiting too long to start saving can make it very difficult to catch up, and only a few years can make a big difference in how much you'll accumulate. For some, having a large retirement account might seem like a nice but unattainable goal. It can become more realistic if you know the secret: time. When should you start saving for retirement? It might seem backwards to worry about the last money you'll need early in life, but because compounding over time can be so powerful, starting early gives you more flexibility later on in life. If you have children (or grandchildren) who earn money, now might be a good time to help them start or fund a retirement account. While they can always fund a traditional IRA, if they qualify, a Roth IRA might be an even better choice.