An IRA offers the chance to claim tax benefits for retirement savings, even if you don't have a workplace 401(k) or you'd prefer not to use your employer-sponsored retirement account.

You can contribute up to $6,000 to a traditional or Roth IRA in 2021. And, if your'e 50 or over, can make an extra $1,000 catch-up contribution for a total of $7,000 invested. 

If you haven't yet maxed out your 2021 IRA, you may feel as though you're just about out of time to put money into your retirement account for the current tax year. But the good news is, that's not the case. You can actually continue working on your 2021 IRA contributions into 2022. Here's why. 

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The 2021 IRA contribution deadline doesn't end when the year does

Unlike 401(k) contributions, the deadline for investing in your traditional or Roth IRA is not the end of the calendar year.

Instead, you can keep making 2021 contributions to this account until the deadline for submitting your tax returns for the year. That will be April 18, 2022 for most people. So even after you ring in the new year, you could have three-and-a-half more months to work on maxing out your contribution. 

The option to continue working on maxing out your 2021 IRA even in 2022 is great news if you've fallen behind. Once you miss the deadline to make traditional or Roth IRA contributions for a tax year, that opportunity is gone forever. That means you miss out on the subsidies the government wants to provide to help build your nest egg.

You don't want to give up this chance to get Uncle Sam's help saving for your later years. And if you have some extra time to max out your account, you may not have to. 

How to max out your 2021 IRA in 2022

If you want to ensure you score your full tax breaks for the 2021 year, the best way to do it is to figure out how far short you are from hitting your IRA contribution limits and how much to invest each month before the April or October deadline.

If you've contributed nothing and you want to hit the $6,000 contribution limit for the year, you'd need to invest $1,500 per month in January, February, March, and April. 

Rework your budget to try to get as close as possible to those necessary monthly contributions, then set up automatic transfers to your brokerage account to hit your target each month. If you do, you'll go a long way toward building more financial security in your later years. And you'll be glad you took advantage of the extended time to get available help in growing the nest egg you need for your future.