Everyone who hopes to retire someday confronts the same question: How do we pay for it?

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Everyone who hopes to retire someday — and, face it, that’s most of us — confronts the same question: How do we pay for it?

The short answer is: Start saving money when you begin your career.

Richard Marshall, a financial consultant at the Bellevue office of advisory firm Vestory, recommends saving between 13 and 15 percent of your annual income for retirement. His recommended savings rate is in line with financial planners generally.

Those who begin saving early will be rewarded later in life by compounding interest, in which the accumulated interest on their money also earns interest, accelerating the growth of their nest eggs.

Although home values in the Seattle area have soared in recent years, real estate nationwide does not appreciate as quickly as securities over time. The best strategy is to diversify your investments, Marshall says. Meanwhile, counting on a late-career investment in the stock market is a retirement strategy fraught with peril.

“Don’t expect market returns to bail you out if you haven’t saved enough,” Marshall said. “I see that a lot.”

— George Erb