7 Strategies to Boost Your Retirement Contributions Before the Deadline

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Saving for retirement should be a top priority on your financial to-do list. However, balancing current expenses with future savings can be challenging. If you’re looking for ways to increase your retirement contributions before the deadline, here are seven strategies to help you achieve your goal.

The new maximum contribution limits are $19,500 for a 401(k) and $6,000 for a traditional or Roth IRA. Fortunately, the annual contribution deadline extends to around April 15th, giving you more time to reach your savings goals.

1. Meet Your Employer’s Match

If your employer offers to match your retirement contributions, take full advantage of it. Contribute a percentage of your income that allows you to get the maximum match. For instance, if your employer matches 50% of your contributions up to 5% of your income, commit to contributing at least 5% so your employer can add another 2.5%. This can be done automatically, coming out of your paycheck before you receive it.

2. Save 1% More

Increasing your retirement savings by just 1% can make a significant difference over time. For example, if you bring home $3,500 per month, saving an extra 1% would be $35. This small adjustment can motivate you to save more and help you reach your retirement goals.

3. Redirect Your Raise

If you receive a raise at the end of the year, use it as an opportunity to increase your retirement contributions. Negotiate a higher salary during your annual review, but keep your expenses the same to avoid lifestyle inflation. Funnel the additional income from your raise into your retirement savings over the next few months to maximize your contributions before the April deadline.

4. Contribute Your Tax Refund

Using your tax refund to boost your retirement savings can make a significant impact. Treat your retirement savings as an investment that will grow over time due to compound interest. File your taxes early if you expect a refund, and apply it to your retirement account before the contribution deadline.

5. Have a Frugal Holiday Season

Scaling back on holiday spending can free up extra funds for your retirement account. Limit your gift list, make homemade gifts, and find free ways to celebrate. By committing to a frugal holiday season, you can potentially free up around $1,000 to add to your retirement savings.

6. Make Some Extra Money

Earning extra income can help you increase your retirement contributions. Consider flexible side jobs like delivering food with DoorDash, driving for Uber, or dog walking. You can also take on holiday seasonal jobs or freelance work. Funnel all your extra earnings into your retirement account.

7. Lower Your Variable Expenses

Review your budget and find ways to reduce variable expenses to increase your retirement contributions. Adopting a budget like the 50/30/20 rule can help, but you can also tweak it to prioritize savings. Consider cutting out unnecessary subscriptions, getting a cheaper phone plan, lowering your grocery budget, shopping around for better insurance rates, and dining out less.

Summary

Saving for retirement is an ongoing priority. By implementing these strategies, you can increase your retirement contributions and secure a more comfortable future. In the long run, you’ll be glad you made these sacrifices to ensure a financially stable retirement.

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