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How to Save More for Retirement This Year


Saving for retirement is important because it ensures greater financial stability and independence in your later years. As life expectancy increases, so does the need for a robust retirement fund to cover extended healthcare costs, rising living expenses and unforeseen financial challenges. Without adequate savings, you risk outliving your money, which could lead to a diminished quality of life and increased dependency on others. Additionally, saving for retirement allows you to take advantage of compound interest, where your money grows exponentially over time. If you’re looking for help with your retirement savings, consider talking to a financial advisor.

Utilize Your Employer’s Retirement Offerings

Many employers offer retirement savings plans, such as 401(k)s and 403(b)s, which come with various benefits that can significantly enhance your long-term savings. Understanding how to make the most of these plans is essential for securing a comfortable retirement.

One of the most compelling reasons to participate in your employer’s retirement plan is the opportunity for matching contributions. Many employers match a percentage of the amount you contribute to your retirement account, effectively providing free money to bolster your savings. For example, if your employer offers a 50% match up to 6% of your salary, contributing at least 6% will get you the full match. Failing to take advantage of this benefit is essentially leaving money on the table.

Employer-sponsored retirement plans also offer significant tax advantages. Contributions to traditional 401(k) or 403(b) plans can be made with pre-tax dollars, reducing your taxable income for the year. Alternatively, contributions made to Roth accounts are made with after-tax contributions, which grow tax-free and can be withdrawn tax-free in retirement. This can lead to substantial tax savings, particularly for individuals in higher tax brackets.

Additionally, these workplace retirement accounts offer catch-up contributions for employees aged 50 and older. For 2024, 401(k) and 403(b) catch-up contributions allow qualifying account holders to save $7,500 over the $23,000 limit.

Contribute to Your Own IRA

Opening an IRA and contributing to it every year can be a great way to grow your retirement savings immediately. IRAs come in two primary forms: traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs. Each has its unique benefits and tax implications. Contributions to a traditional IRA may be tax-deductible and the earnings grow tax-deferred until you withdraw them in retirement. Conversely, contributions to a Roth IRA are made with after-tax dollars, but the withdrawals, including earnings, are tax-free in retirement.

To ensure you are contributing effectively make sure you’re setting up automatic contributions. Regular, automated contributions from your paycheck or bank account can help you stay consistent and avoid missing the deadline (for IRAs, this is typically April 15 of the following year). Additionally, regularly evaluating your budget can help you find areas where you can cut back and redirect those funds into your IRA.

Starting your IRA contributions early in your career allows your investments to grow over a longer period. Even small, regular contributions can accumulate significantly over time. And, if you’re aged 50 and older, you can contribute an additional $1,000 above the $7,000 limit in 2024.

Boost Income to Maximize Contributions

A couple reviewing how much their retirement account has grown over the year.

Relying solely on your primary job may limit your financial growth. Consider diversifying your income streams. Part-time gigs, freelance work, or passive income from investments can supplement your primary income. This extra cash can be directly funneled into your IRA or self-employed retirement savings, significantly enhancing your nest egg over time.

Investing in your professional development can pay substantial dividends. Seek out opportunities for additional training or certifications in your field. Demonstrating a commitment to your career can position you for promotions and raises. Higher-income means more capacity to contribute to retirement accounts like 401(k)s or IRAs. But once you hit annual limits you can’t contribute more.

The gig economy offers various opportunities to earn extra income. Whether it’s driving for a ride-sharing service, selling handmade crafts online, or offering consulting services, these additional earnings can give you the opportunity to use self-employed retirement accounts like solo 401(k)s and SEP IRAs that allow for additional annual contributions.

Invest in Assets You Can Hold for Retirement

Investing in assets that can be held for retirement can help you secure long-term financial stability. These types of investments are designed to appreciate over time, providing value and potential income. One prime example of such an asset is real estate. You should note, however, that you will have to use special IRAs like self-directed IRAs (SDIRAs) to hold real estate investments in an account.

Here are three other examples of investment that you can buy and hold in your retirement accounts:

  • Bonds: Retirement accounts such as 401(k)s, IRAs and Roth IRAs can hold bonds. These investments provide fixed interest payments, offering a steady income stream while preserving capital.
  • Precious metals: Certain retirement accounts like self-directed IRAs can hold precious metals like gold, silver, platinum and palladium. These tangible assets have been valued for centuries and tend to retain their worth, particularly during economic downturns. By including precious metals in a diversified portfolio, investors can hedge against inflation and currency fluctuations, ensuring a stable store of value over the long term.
  • Dividend-paying stocks: IRAs, Roth IRAs, and 401(k)s can hold dividend-paying stocks. These stocks provide the dual benefit of capital appreciation and regular income through dividends. Companies with a strong track record of paying dividends often indicate financial health and stability, making them a reliable choice for those planning for retirement.

Ultimately, a diversified approach is essential when investing in assets for retirement. Choosing a variety of assets can help investors create a robust and resilient portfolio. This approach not only aims to preserve wealth but can also generates income, increasing financial security throughout retirement.

Bottom Line

A couple estimating how much they will need to save for retirement.

It’s important to save as much as you can for retirement so that you have the best chance for your money to last during your golden years. Diversification can help you achieve that goal but you may want to enlist the help of a financial advisor so that you can create a long-term retirement strategy for your needs.

Tips for Retirement Planning

  • A financial advisor can provide the expertise you need to grow your savings over time. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • You can also use a retirement calculator to help you estimate whether you’re saving enough for retirement.

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