The stress of saving for retirement hanging over your head is a struggle familiar to almost everyone. Will I have enough money when I want to retire? Did I start saving early enough? Am I too far behind to catch up?
If your 401k balance is stressing you out, we have good news—saving for retirement isn’t as hard as you think. Here are 3 easy ways to maximize your retirement savings:
1. Know your company’s plan
If your company has a 401k plan, make sure you fully understand all of the benefits available to you. Find out if your company has a 401k match program, which matches any contribution you make to your 401k up to a certain percent. If your employer does offer a program like this, make sure you’re contributing at least enough to take advantage. Otherwise, you’re leaving free money on the table.
2. Take into account how compound growth can help
Taking advantage of compound growth is a huge bonus to saving in a 401k rather than a regular savings account. If you aren’t exactly sure what compound growth is, it’s interest that essentially makes you more money on top of money you are already investing. The longer money is able to compound in your 401k the more it will grow over time. The best thing about compound interest is that it will start as soon as you start saving. So even if you feel that you are behind in your retirement savings, compound interest can help you catch up.
3. Maximize your contributions
At any stage in your career, aim to contribute the maximum amount that you can to your retirement savings account. It’s recommended that 10% to 15% of your income should go to your 401k, but don’t stress if you can’t afford to part with that much. Set up automatic contributions from your paycheck to your 401k so you can consistently contribute without having to worry about it. Take this a step further by setting up yearly automatic increases to your 401k contribution so you can save more every year with no extra work.
Saving for retirement isn’t as complicated as it seems. Start small and work your way up—your future self (and your future bank account) will thank you.