It seems like just yesterday we were ringing in 2007. Now, as March comes to a close, it's a good time to check in on how those New Year's resolutions are going.
Okay, so maybe you haven't seen the inside of your gym since January. But hopefully, at least some of your resolutions stuck. If you made retirement savings a priority for 2007, hopefully you've harnessed the hidden fortune inside your paycheck and channeled some of your money toward retirement. If not, there's still time.
Here are three simple steps that will get you back on track to get the full potential of your retirement savings.
- Increase your contributions. It sounds simple, but it's easy to forget: Saving more means a better retirement. Take a look at the options available to you. Are you putting away the most you can? If not, consider bumping up your savings.
For 2007, the maximum you can contribute to your 401(k) is $15,500, and the maximum IRA contribution is $4,000. But that doesn't mean you have to max out all your contributions in order to retire well. Just small additions will add up to big value over time. For more details, check out the Motley Fool's IRA Center.
- Catch up on your savings. Have you turned 50? If so, you qualify for the "age 50 catch-up" contribution allowance. That's the law that says you can exceed the maximum amount you would otherwise be able to contribute toward your retirement. For 2007, that means an extra $5,000 to your 401(k) and $1,000 in your IRA.
- Open a Roth IRA. No, the contributions aren't tax-deductible, but the money you earn grows tax-free. IRAs have long been a popular method for people to invest for their retirement, and the Roth IRA made them even better by forbidding Uncle Sam from touching the money you make on your investments.
The same $4,000 limit on IRA contributions applies to Roth IRAs, and there are also certain limitations on contributions based on income. You can learn more at the IRA Center.
These three simple steps can make powerful changes in your retirement savings. If you follow through, you won't have to add this back to your list of New Year's resolutions for 2008.
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