Young graduates who are torn between saving for retirement and paying off student loans should make retirement savings a priority, says Anna Behnam, an Ameriprise financial adviser based in Rockville, Md. Unless there is high-interest debt involved, consumers should try to put away at least 10 percent of their annual income each year, using workplace savings plans or a Roth IRA. Then, consumers should determine a monthly student loan payment schedule that works with their budgets and savings goals. Before saving for a large purchase like a house, graduates should start building up an emergency cash reserve for emergencies: at least three months for employees with steady paychecks and six months for those who are self-employed. Research on homes in the desired location can help develop a realistic savings goal to afford a 20-percent down payment and closing costs out of pocket.