A lot of people who save for retirement do so steadily and consistently throughout the year. They'll either sign up to have the same amount deducted from their paychecks automatically to land in a 401(k), or they'll set up a series of automatic transfers to an IRA.

But what if you didn't max out your 401(k) or IRA for the year, but you're still hoping to do so? Maybe you were only able to save a certain amount during the year due to inflation, but now have money from holiday gifts or a year-end bonus to allocate to your retirement plan.

In some cases, it may be too late to add more money to your retirement account. But whether that's so will depend on the type of account you have.

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You may be out of luck with a 401(k)

At this point, there's less than a week left to 2022. And if you're hoping to boost your 401(k) contribution for the year, that unfortunately may not be an option.

Contributions to 401(k) plans are done through payroll deductions. At this point, your payroll department may not have the ability to make changes to the year's final pay run, which takes the option to pump more money into your 401(k) off the table.

Plus, your payroll administrator may not even be in the office this week, since many people take time off during the holidays. So even if a change is technically possible, the right person to implement it may be absent.

That's why it's a good idea to tackle 401(k) changes like this earlier in the year -- when there's time to make payroll adjustments. If you missed the boat for this year, consider it your wakeup call for next year.

You have more options with an IRA

It may be too late to add money to your 401(k) for 2022. But if you have an IRA, it's a completely different story.

First of all, IRAs aren't funded through payroll deductions, so you should have the option to make an IRA deposit today if you so choose. And also, IRAs give you until the following year's tax-filing deadline to finish making your contributions.

In 2023, taxes will be due on April 18. So as long as you manage to pump more money into your IRA by then, it will count for 2022 purposes.

Incidentally, health savings accounts (HSAs) work the same way. If you didn't max out your 2022 HSA but still wish to do so, you actually have around four months to make additional contributions to that account.

Know the rules

It's natural to want to sneak more money into your retirement plan before the end of the year. Doing so could mean snagging more tax savings and setting yourself up with more money for retirement.

But while that should be more than feasible with an IRA, it may not be possible with a 401(k). And so if you're keeping your retirement savings in a workplace plan, be sure to familiarize yourself with the rules so you know exactly how much flexibility you have with last-minute contributions.