Saving for retirement is one of the best ways to prepare for your future and keep peace of mind about your finances. There are tons of ways to start saving, but the most effective way is through an employer-matched 401k. Experts in the financial industry have conducted hundreds of studies on people that are retirement millionaires, and the common theme between all of them is their 401k strategies. If you want to have a million bucks ready for your old age, here’s the way to do it.
Start Saving Early
Start saving early if you want your retirement funds to be ripe by the time you reach the appropriate age. Most retirement millionaires began putting money away in their early 20s. But no matter where you are in life, it’s always a good time to start saving. Mathematically speaking, it will be much easier to reach your goal even with smaller contributions if you start sooner. Even if it’s not much, make sure you are putting something away for later and it will pay off in huge dividends.
Keep 10-15% of your Annual Income for Later
For an idea of how to best budget your savings, most retirement millionaires save between 10% and 15% of their yearly salary. If you can’t quite put that much away, don’t panic. Set your sights on reaching these levels of contribution, but don’t put yourself in the hole to get there. Budgeting pays off greatly, so make it priority.
Max Out your Employer Contribution
Employer contributions to your 401k are basically free money. If you’re not contributing the maximum amount that your company will match, you are forfeiting part of your salary. Maxing out their contribution will help you get to a million faster, with most retirement savers netting as much as an extra $5,000 per year from their savings plan.
Even if You’re Older, Keep Saving
If you didn’t start saving in your youth, it’s not too late to reach your retirement goals. Nearing the age of retirement without having enough saved does not mean you’ve failed, it just means you’re working on a different time frame. If you can, start contributing the maximum amount possible to your 401k ($17,500 per year). Once you hit 50, you are entitled to go beyond this maximum by an additional $5,500, bringing your total yearly contributions to $23,000. With this higher cap, you can get in some huge extra savings and meet your goals in a much shorter time.