These tips will help you max your retirement contributions this year

Personal Finance


Jamie Grill | Getty Images

As the calendar crosses the mid-year mark, are you on track to reach your retirement savings goals?

The IRS has raised the limits for what you can put away in pre-tax retirement savings account this year.

That means you can sock away as much as $19,000 in your 401(k), 403(b), Thrift Savings Plan and most 457 plans, up from $18,500 in 2018.

You can also save as much as $6,000 in an IRA, up from $5,500 in 2018.

If you’re age 50 and over, you can put in an additional $6,000 in your 401(k) and other employee plans and another $1,000 in your IRA.

Even if your personal savings will be nowhere near those limits, now is a great time to check on whether your savings rates will get you to your goals for this year and beyond.

If you’re behind, these two tips will help you maximize your savings.

Don’t underestimate small increases

Ideally, you should be saving as much as 10% to 15% of your salary annually toward retirement.

If you are saving 6% now, getting to 15% may sound daunting.

One way to gradually get there: Strive to increase your savings rate by at least 1% each year. You may not notice the difference this year. That change could add up big over time.

“Those small jumps by just 1% or 2% over a 20-year or 30-year career can really make a big difference in the end,” said Meghan Murphy, vice president at Fidelity Investments. “The longer that money is in the plan and has time to grow, the better off you are.”

Factor in surprise income



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