Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Free Article Join Over 1 Million Premium Members And Get More In-Depth Stock Guidance and Research

How to Maximize Your Retirement Savings in the New Year

By Katie Brockman - Jan 4, 2021 at 6:16AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Supercharge your savings in 2021.

More than 30% of Americans say their new year's resolution for 2021 is related to their finances, according to a survey from personal finance site Finder.

Regardless of whether you have a resolution for the new year, getting your finances on track is never a bad idea. This is especially true if you're saving for retirement, because right now is the best time to start.

Even if you don't have much to save, there are still ways to maximize your savings. By starting with these three steps, you can save more all year long. 

Older man wearing sunglasses and throwing money in the air

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Set your retirement goal

It's tough to tell whether you're saving enough when you don't have a goal you're working toward. By setting a goal now, you'll have an idea of how much you'll need to save this year to keep your plans on track.

To set a goal, use a retirement calculator to estimate how much you need to save. Try to be as honest as possible with your inputs, too, including your desired retirement age and how much you expect to spend each year once you retire. You may not be able to determine these numbers with 100% accuracy, but putting some thought behind your estimates will result in a more accurate goal.

2. Get creative with your budget

The retirement calculator will likely give you an idea of how much you should save each month to reach your overarching savings goal by retirement age. From there, you'll need to figure out how to scrape together that much cash.

Budget cuts can be daunting, but they're not as scary as they may seem. First, make a list of all your monthly expenses. Next, cut all the costs that you know immediately are unnecessary, like a gym membership you haven't used in months or subscription services you forgot you were paying for.

The next step is to start cutting back on other nonessential costs like takeout or your morning coffee. You don't need to eliminate these  entirely, because doing so could make these cuts unsustainable. But if you can make even small cutbacks consistently, you can save more each month.

3. Take advantage of all your resources

Saving is tough, but it can be a little easier when you take advantage of all the resources available to you. These can include:

  • Matching 401(k) contributions: If your employer offers matching contributions, you can potentially double your savings with next to no effort. So if you have access to this 401(k) perk, it's wise to take full advantage of it.
  • Automatic retirement fund contributions: When you set up automatic contributions, you're saving a set amount every week, month, or pay period. This can help you save more consistently, which will make it easier to build a healthier retirement fund.
  • Catch-up contributions: If you're 50 or older, you can contribute an extra $6,500 per year to your 401(k) or an extra $1,000 to your IRA. By making the most of these contributions, you can supercharge your savings even if you're close to retirement.

There's never a wrong time to save more for retirement, but the new year is a great opportunity to set new goals and create healthy financial habits. By sticking to these strategies, you can save more in 2021 and keep your retirement plans on track.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
633%
 
S&P 500 Returns
140%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 12/07/2021.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Our Most Popular Articles

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with the Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from the Motley Fool's premium services.