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Young man and woman counting up their savings from a pink piggy bank

When retirement is decades away, it can be easy to put off saving for it. In fact, according to a 2018 Northwestern Mutual study, one in three Americans has less than $5,000 saved for retirement, one in five hasn’t saved anything, and 33% of Baby Boomers have saved $25,000 or less.

Unfortunately, delaying saving for retirement might leave you financially unprepared when it’s time to leave the workforce. While it can be difficult to set aside money for the future and pay your bills today, if you want to make your retirement dreams a reality, it’s important to make saving for retirement a priority now.

Here are seven things you can do to help boost your retirement savings.


1.  Set up Payroll Deductions

One of the simplest ways to save for retirement is to have a fixed amount of money deducted from every paycheck and put into a retirement account. Many employers offer 401(k) or 403(b) accounts to make it easier for employees to save for retirement. Taking advantage of employer-sponsored retirement plans allows you to put your savings on autopilot, so you can set it and forget it.

If you don’t have access to a retirement plan through your employer, or you’re self-employed, consider opening an IRA or Solo 401(k). While you won’t be able to set up payroll deductions with these types of plans, you can set up automatic withdrawals from your bank account each month.

Remember, every little bit counts. Even if you can only save a small amount, it’s worth it. With the power of compound interest, you might be surprised at how quickly your money grows over time.


2.  Save Your Raises

Instead of increasing your standard of living when you get a raise, put the extra money from each paycheck into a retirement account. You won’t get used to having the extra money to spend, and you’ll boost your retirement savings for the future.


3.  Use Your Tax Return

If you get a tax return from the IRS, it may be tempting to spend it on something you can enjoy now. But consider saving it for retirement instead. Using Bankrate’s investment calculator, if you get a $5,000 tax return and put it in a retirement account that averages a return of 8% a year for 20 years, you’ll have an extra $23,305 when you retire. Sacrificing what you want right now may help you achieve financial security in retirement.


4.  Reduce Your Expenses

While this may be easier said than done, consider looking for ways to trim your spending each month. You may not want to give up your daily latte, twice a month pedicures, or weekly golf outing, but it may be worth it if it helps you reach your retirement savings goal.


5.  Get a Side Gig

According to a bankrate.com survey, the average American who has a side gig earns more than $8,000 a year from it. Consider picking up some extra work outside of your regular job to supplement your retirement savings. Even if you only make an extra couple hundred dollars a month, think about the impact it could have on your retirement account balance.


6.  Allocate Your Credit Card Rewards to a Retirement Account

Have you ever thought about how your credit card could help you save for retirement? If not, you’re probably not alone. But some rewards cards give you an opportunity to earn rewards—on purchases you’d be making anyway—you can deposit directly into a retirement account. If you don’t have one, it may be worth considering.

Not for you? That’s okay. Lots of credit cards offer cash back rewards. Instead of using the money for your next vacation, consider depositing it into your retirement account.


7.  Consider an Annuity

If you’re worried you won’t have enough money to last throughout your retirement, an annuity may be an option that’s worth considering. Not only can you earn interest on your investment, but an annuity may also provide a steady stream of income during retirement.

A word of caution. Annuities are complex financial instruments that can be difficult to understand. Before you invest in one, it’s probably worth consulting an expert to help ensure you make the decision that’s best for you.


The methods you use to save for retirement will vary based on your personal situation and where you are in your career. Regardless of what methods you use, the time to start is now. The sooner you start saving, the longer your money will have to grow.


About the author:

Jennifer Brozic

Jennifer Brozic began her writing career at seven years old, when she scribed the epic tale of her kite-flying (and skyward-looking) uncle crossing paths with a deep hole in a sandy beach. After earning a degree in journalism, Jen worked in the insurance and financial services industries before earning a master’s degree in communication management. She left the nine-to-five corporate world in 2010 and has been freelance writing ever since. Her areas of expertise include insurance, financial planning & budgeting, and building credit.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified tax advisor, attorney or financial advisor. Readers should consult with their own tax advisor, attorney or financial advisor with regard to their personal situations.