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6 Tips to Increase Your Retirement Savings

For years you’ve been encouraged to sock away your hard-earned money. Building a rainy-day fund, putting enough away to get the employer match on your 401(k), and even contributing to an IRA or Roth IRA from time to time. As retirement approaches and your finances aren’t what you expected you might be asking yourself, “Did I do enough, should I have started earlier, and could I have done more?”

If you don’t think you’ve saved enough, it’s time to start catching up! These are the quickest and easiest ways to beef up your retirement savings.

  1. First things first, create a plan and stick to it. Without knowing where you are now or where you’re headed, it’s tough to know how much is enough. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Connect with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional or Chartered Financial Consultant® designee (we have four) and make sure you’re on the right path.
  2. Don’t leave “free money” on the table. Your employer likely provides you with an opportunity to receive a matching contribution if you defer some of your income into the company retirement plan. It may seem small, but it’s the easiest money you’ll get out of your employer.
  3. Consider opening a health savings account (HSA). HSAs are triple tax-advantaged, meaning: contributions to your HSA can be deducted from your taxes in the tax year they’re made, growth on money in your HSA is tax-deferred, and withdrawals are tax-free if used to pay for qualified healthcare expenses. If you don’t end up using your HSA for medical expenses you can also treat it like a retirement account once you turn 65 years old.
  4. Take advantage of catch up provisions in your retirement accounts. After you turn 50 years old the IRS allows you to make up for lost time with catch up contributions to your retirement account. This allows you to add an additional $6,000 per year to your 401(k) or an extra $1,000 per year to your IRA or Roth IRA.
  5. If you’re self-employed, consider opening up a SEP IRA or solo 401(k). Either of these could allow you to contribute much more income toward retirement than a traditional IRA. Not only can you make employee contributions from your salary, but you may also make profit-sharing contributions as the employer.
  6. Carve out 10%-20% of your bonus and stash it away in one of your retirement savings vehicles. It’s in our nature to want to treat ourselves right away after your bonus hits your bank account, but make sure “future you” gets a piece of the action too. Not only will your retirement account grow by the amount you put in, but the power of compounding returns could mean even more down the road.

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