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Behind on Retirement Plan Contributions? 9 Ways to Catch Up Before 2022 Is Over

By Maurie Backman - Oct 30, 2022 at 8:00AM
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Behind on Retirement Plan Contributions? 9 Ways to Catch Up Before 2022 Is Over

It's not too late to make progress with saving

Once you retire, you can't expect to live on Social Security alone. Rather, you should expect to need independent savings. And if you're behind on building a nest egg, here are a few ways you can catch up before 2022 comes to a close.

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1. Put yourself on a tight budget

If you're not being mindful of your spending, you might struggle to find ways to pump more money into your IRA or 401(k) plan. By setting up a budget, you can better prioritize retirement plan contributions. And you might also stop spending money on things that don't offer you a lot of value.

ALSO READ: I Used to Fail at Budgeting -- Until I Did This 1 Thing

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A car parked in a driveway.

2. Unload an expensive car

Are you spending $750 a month on car payments? It may be worth unloading that car and buying a vehicle that costs you $400 a month instead. You can bank the difference for retirement and start the catch-up process.

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A remote control is pointed at a big-screen television.

3. Trim smaller expenses

Maybe you're spending money on things like cable or subscription boxes you don't really need. If you're able to cut those expenses, you can free up cash for your 401(k) or IRA. Canceling even really small expenses, like a $15 monthly streaming service, can add up.

ALSO READ: The 7 Best Free Streaming Services

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An envelope reading Bonus being passed from one hand to another.

4. Bank your year-end bonus

Getting a bonus at the end of the year? If you don't need that money for essential bills, put it into your IRA or 401(k). It could boost your retirement plan balance nicely.

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Person holding a Christmas present.

5. Bank your holiday cash gifts

You may get some cash gifts during the holidays. Rather than spend that money, stick it into savings. Even a $100 bonus contribution could go a long way when invested over the next 30 years.

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Person on laptop is wearing festive sweater with Christmas tree in the background.

6. Scale back your holiday celebrations

The holidays tend to be an expensive time of the year. If you're behind on retirement savings, pledge to spend less this year. You can contribute the rest to your IRA or 401(k).

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Person walking six dogs.

7. Get a side hustle

Right now, the gig economy is booming. Plus, businesses tend to need extra help around the holidays. So all told, it's a good time to pick up a side hustle. You can use your extra earnings to boost your long-term savings.

ALSO READ: 3 Little-Known Perks of Getting a Side Hustle

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A 401k statement showing a match.

8. Snag your full 401(k) match

If your company offers a 401(k) match, it pays to snag it in full. Aim to ramp up your contributions enough to qualify for whatever match you're eligible for. If your company will match up to $3,000 in annual contributions, for example, and you've only put in $2,000 to date this year, push yourself to put in that extra $1,000 so you can score an additional $1,000 from your employer.

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Person works on paperwork at kitchen counter.

9. Make extra contributions if you're eligible

Savers aged 50 and over can make catch-up contributions to an IRA or 401(k). If you're behind on building your nest egg, try to take advantage of that option this year. Older IRA savers can put in an additional $1,000, while those with a 401(k) can put in an extra $6,500.

ALSO READ: Understanding Catch-Up Contributions

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A smiling person in a business suit.

Help your nest egg grow

You may end up heavily reliant on your savings once retirement rolls around. If your nest egg isn't where you feel it should be, take these key steps to catch up. If you make the effort, you may end up much happier with the state of your savings by the time 2023 rolls around.

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