You know how important it is to save for your future—but are you saving enough to achieve the retirement you envision?
If you’re like most people, your workplace plan may be your primary source of income during retirement. That’s why it’s important to make the most of it by saving as much as you can now. In addition to providing income for a long retirement, saving more now may also help minimize risks that may erode your savings, such as inflation, taxes, and market volatility.
How much should you be saving?
As you save for the future you envision, you may want to keep some basic guidelines in mind. A standard rule of thumb is to save 10% to 15% of your salary to stay on track for retirement. For some savers, 10% may feel overwhelming at first. If you’d prefer a more gradual approach, try starting with a contribution of at least 6% and building over time. As you progress in your career, you’ll likely find more opportunities to save. Giving yourself a yearly 2% savings boost may be a good way to stay motivated and make sure you’re working toward the target 10% to 15% range.
Small increases can add up over time
Thanks to compound interest, every dollar you save today has an increased opportunity to grow over time. Compounding is the snowball effect that occurs when your investment earnings generate earnings of their own. This cycle can lead to exponential growth for your account balances. You can maximize the effect of compound interest by giving your savings a small boost each year — even a 2% annual increase can make a big difference in the long run.
For example, a 25-year old participant who saves 6% may have $383,390 at age 65 compared to $511,193 if he or she had saved 8%. This 2% boost may reduce the paycheck by only $53, but may increase the participant’s retirement savings by $127,803.1
If you’re looking for an additional way to save after maxing out contributions to your workplace plan, you can also put money into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). This type of account offers tax advantages to help you save for the long run.
Considering whether an IRA may be right for you?
Find ways to save more
Saving more for retirement may be easier than you think—and it doesn’t have to mean big sacrifices. Start by reviewing your budget to see where you’re spending money and what expenses you can trim. Making a few small lifestyle adjustments can go a long way toward freeing up extra dollars for retirement. For example, if you save just an extra $20 per week, it may grow to $173,471 over the course of 40 years!2
Consider cutting back in the following areas:
If you get takeout or go out to dinner once a week, try limiting it to once a month.
For the meals you cook at home, try to plan out the menu in advance. Go to the supermarket with a list and stick to it. This can help prevent overspending!
If you pay for an expensive cable package, consider cutting the cord. Online streaming services offer a wide selection of entertainment choices and usually come with a much lower price tag. If you don’t want to drop cable, consider shopping around for a less expensive package.
Get creative with free or low-cost entertainment options, such as visiting local parks, hiking, or organizing an outdoor picnic with friends.
Limit impulse buying. Next time you’re tempted to grab something by the register or add one more item to your online cart, resist the urge. Instead, try writing down the name of the item and returning to it in a week. You may have a different perspective after taking some time to think about your needs vs. wants.
For the things you do need, try to shop smarter by looking for sales, buying used, or buying in bulk. A little effort and advance planning can lead to big savings on everyday items!
Set a clothing budget based on your needs, not wants. If you allocate a certain amount for clothing on a monthly or seasonal basis, it may be easier to avoid spending on a whim.
Making these small adjustments probably won’t feel much different, but the extra dollars can really add up over time. For additional ideas on how to save more, check out the Small Changes Big Savings calculator.
Catch up on your savings
If you feel behind in saving for retirement, you’re not alone. There are several things you can do today to catch up on your savings and get on track for your ideal retirement. Maxing out your contributions is one way to give your savings the extra boost they need. Each year, the IRS sets contribution limits for workplace plans, including 401(k), 403(b), and 457 plans. Those over the age of 50 are also eligible to make “catch-up contributions," which means you can save beyond the regular contribution limit.
Make sure you’re on track for the retirement lifestyle you envision
Log in to your account and boost your savings!
No matter where you are in your retirement journey, now is the perfect time to take charge of your savings strategy and make sure you’re on track for the retirement you envision.