Often it’s the little things in life that can make the biggest difference. That’s true when it comes to saving for retirement. Talking to your financial representative about putting just one percent more into a tax-advantaged retirement account like a 401(k), 403(b), or an IRA could make a noticeable difference in your lifestyle in retirement. Whether you choose to make Roth or traditional contributions, the benefits of saving just a little more now can pay off later.
“Saving for retirement may seem like a steep mountain to climb, but the climb doesn’t have to be as steep as it looks,” says Jeanne Thompson, senior vice president at Fidelity. “Small steps now can turn into big strides later.”
While one percent is a small percentage of your annual earnings today, after 20 or 30 years it can make a big difference in your account balance when you retire. That’s because the longer you give your money a chance to grow, the better. And it works no matter how old you are—or how far off retirement is.
Let’s look at some examples.
Consider small steps
As you can see in our examples—small weekly amounts like $12, $14, and $16 can make a noticeable difference in your savings. So how do you find the money? Work with your financial representative to identify places in your spending that may be easy to cut. Even bringing your lunch or using coupons could save you $16 or more. And the beauty of 401(k) contributions is that they come right out of your paycheck, so you may not even miss the spending money.
If a one-time bump-up isn’t ideal now, speak with your financial representative about increasing contributions each year. For instance, if your 401(k) lets you set automatic increases every year, consider signing up. If you usually get a raise each year, you may be able to time the increase to happen when you get a bump in pay so you won’t feel the impact on your paycheck.
Consider saving 15%
We ran the numbers and determined that aiming to save 15% of income toward retirement annually—which includes any matching contributions or profit-sharing an employer may make to a workplace retirement account like a 401(k) or 403(b)—can help ensure that you can maintain your lifestyle in retirement.
Not saving that much? Don’t fret. Few people get there overnight. Think of planning for retirement as a journey. Work with your financial representative to come up with a plan to save as much as you can now and try to increase savings over time. If possible, save at least enough to get any match from your employer.
“Starting early, saving regularly, and increasing the amount you save as your income increases will help you to achieve the retirement you envision,” says Thompson.
Don’t have a 401(k)?
You may be self-employed or maybe your employer doesn’t offer a 401(k). But you can save in a tax-advantaged account like an IRA. Work with your financial representative to see which type of IRA is right for you.
If you are already contributing to an IRA, you may not be saving up to the limits. In 2021, there is a $6,000 limit for those under age 50 and a $7,000 limit for those age 50 or older. Saving $50 more a month, or $600 a year, can make a real difference in the long run.
Go for it
Challenge yourself to save a little more. Whether it’s one percent, three percent, or even five percent increase, the extra money saved today could make a big difference in helping achieve the retirement you envision. Think about it this way: Do you want to be worrying about money in retirement?
- Consistently saving a little bit more can add up over time.
- Whether it’s $10 or $100, saving money early in life, doing it consistently, and increasing the amount you’re able to save over time can help you live the life you want in retirement.
This information is intended to be educational and is not tailored to the investment needs of any specific investor.
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Fidelity and Spectrum Management Group. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.