10 tips to help employees boost their retirement savings

Originally posted on http://ebn.benefitnews.com.

Even if they began saving late or have yet to begin, it’s important for your plan participants to know they are not alone, and there are steps they can take to kick-start their retirement plan. Merrill Lynch has provided the following tips to help boost their savings – no matter what their stage of life – and pursue the retirement they envision.

1: Focus on starting today

Especially if you’re just beginning to put money away for retirement, start saving and investing as much as you can now, and let compound interest have an opportunity to work in your favor.

2: Contribute to your 401(k)

If your employer offers a traditional 401(k) plan, it allows you to contribute pre-tax money, which can be a significant advantage; you can invest more of your income without feeling it as much in your monthly budget.

3. Meet your employer’s match

If your employer offers to match your 401(k) plan, make sure you contribute at least enough to take full advantage of the match.

4: Open an IRA

Consider an individual retirement account to help build your nest egg.

5: Automate your savings

Make your savings automatic each month and you’ll have the opportunity to potentially grow your nest egg without having to think about it.

6: Rein in spending

Examine your budget. You might negotiate a lower rate on your car insurance or save by bringing your lunch to work instead of buying it.

7: Set a goal

Knowing how much you’ll need not only makes the process of investing easier but also makes it more rewarding. Set benchmarks along the way, and gain satisfaction as you pursue your retirement goal.

8: Stash extra funds

Extra money? Don’t just spend it. Every time you receive a raise, increase your contribution percentage. Dedicate at least half of the new money to your retirement savings.

9: Take advantage of catch-up contributions

One of the reasons it’s important to start early if you can is that yearly contributions to IRAs and 401(k) plans are limited. The good news? Once you reach age 50, these limits rise, allowing you to try to catch up on your retirement savings. Currently, the 401(k) contribution limit is $17,500 for 2013. If you are age 50 or older the limit increases by $5,500.

10: Consider delaying Social Security as you get closer to retirement

For every year you can delay receiving a Social Security payment before you reach age 70, you can increase the amount you receive in the future.” The delayed retirement credits range from 3% to 8% annually, depending on the year you were born. Pushing your retirement back even one year could significantly boost your Social Security income during retirement.

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