Building your nest egg takes both a comprehensive plan that combines a variety of retirement savings vehicles like a 401(k) plan, an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and Social Security with a personal commitment to contribute to those accounts regularly.
What are your options for saving for retirement?
- Investigate your options at work. Retirement accounts like 401(k) plans and Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRAs allow you to save for retirement with pre-tax dollars and many plans offer matching contributions.
- Explore IRAs to supplement to your plan at work. If you don’t have access to a retirement plan at work, you may be able to make tax-deductible contributions to an IRA.
- Consider an annuity. If you have contributed the maximum to your work and IRA, consider the advantages of an annuity for even more tax-deferred growth.
- Look into your Social Security benefits. Be sure to check your annual Social Security Earnings Statement to make sure your wage records are accurate.
Start early and contribute regularly
The sooner you start saving for retirement, the more time your money has the potential to grow and the harder your money works for you. But even if you didn't start early, it pays to start now. Contributing regularly is key. Even if you can only set aside a little each month, starting early could help you to take advantage of the potential of compounding.
Investment strategies vary with age. In general, the younger you are, the more aggressive your investments can be. As you age, move into more conservative investments such as bonds because you have less time to make up for market dips.
A time-proven technique is to set aside retirement funds before you have a chance to spend them. Whenever you can, set up systematic withdrawals from your payroll, your checking or savings account or both. That way you'll be saving regularly, so it's convenient and you won't "forget" and spend it elsewhere.