Do you have less than $25,000 in your retirement account right now?
You’re far from alone, my friend. The fact is, 40% of Americans have less than $25,000 saved for retirement, according to a Northwestern Mutual study. That’s scary.
But, hey, we’re not here to lecture you or instill fear in you. We’re here to cheer you on and show you how to get back on track.
We’ve got six ways to boost your balance and sock away more savings for your golden years. Bonus: You can start doing most of these things today!
1. Get Every Penny From Your Employer
If your employer offers a 401(k) plan as part of its benefits package, then you should absolutely, definitely take full advantage of your employer’s matching contribution.
“Take advantage of your full company match,” says Jeff Dixson, a financial adviser in Vancouver, Washington, who hosts a radio show called “The Retirement Coach.” “If they match 3%, contribute 3%. If they match 6%, try to get to 6%. That’s free money. There’s nowhere else you’re going to get free money.”
If you’re already at the full company match, consider increasing your contributions even more. Trying raising it by at least 1%.
If your employer doesn’t have a 401(k) package, or if you’re self-employed, you should strongly consider stashing retirement savings in a tax-free IRA. Contribute to it routinely and automatically, if you can.
2. Get Rid of Your Homeowner’s Insurance
For many homeowners, your insurance might not be something you actively worry about — you just know you’ve got to pay it.
But, the truth is, you’re probably overpaying and that extra money would be better off in your retirement account.
We get it. Buying homeowners insurance was enough of a hassle the first time around. You’re not exactly champing at the bit to do all that again, but it’s easier than you think.
To find out how much you’re overpaying, check with an insurance company called Lemonade. If its free quote shows you a better deal, Lemonade could switch you over in just 10 minutes. Policies start at $25 a month.
Even better? No phone calls. No lengthy sign-up process. Nothing.
And just because you’re saving money doesn’t mean you’re skimping on coverage. In fact, Lemonade pays out 30% of its claims instantly.
Just answer a few questions about your home to get started.
Lemonade is available in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Wisconsin.
3. Leave Your Family up to $1 Million in Life Insurance (For as Little as .83/Day)
Have you thought about how your family would manage without your income after you’re gone? How they’ll pay the bills? Send the kids through school? Even if you don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars saved for retirement, now’s a good time to start planning for the future by securing a life insurance policy.
You’re probably thinking: I don’t have the time or money for that. But your application shouldn’t take more than about five minutes —and you could leave your family up to $1 million in life insurance with PolicyGenius for as little as .83 a day.
You can change or cancel your plan at any time. Plus, the security of knowing your family is taken care of is priceless.
So, want to leave your family $1 million? It takes two minutes to get a free quote.
4. Ask This Website to Pay Your Credit Card Bills This Month
It’s hard to build your retirement savings if you’re losing money to credit card debt. And your credit card company is just getting rich by ripping you off with high interest rates. But a website called AmOne wants to help.
If you owe your credit card companies $50,000 or less, AmOne will match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every single one of your balances.
The benefit? You’ll be left with one bill to pay each month. And because personal loans have lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 3.99% APR), you’ll get out of debt that much faster. Plus: No credit card payment this month.
AmOne won’t make you stand in line or call your bank, either. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could help you pay off your debt years faster — allowing you to focus your efforts on your retirement savings.
5. Get $100 for Opening a Free Account with This Company
How’s an extra $100 sound? For free? Seriously. We found a company that will give you $100 just for opening a new debit card. It’s called the Aspiration Spend and Save account.
Sure, a lot of debit cards offer sign-up bonuses throughout the year, but they often require you to jump through hoops with minimum requirements that feel impossible to hit.
But Aspiration makes it simple. To earn your $100, here’s all you need to do: Open your Aspiration Spend & Save Account by Feb. 29, 2020 and deposit at least $10. Then set up and receive three direct deposits of at least $500 each from your paycheck or government benefits by June 30, 2020. That’s it! Then just wait for your check.
Even better? Your account comes with a debit card that gets you up to 5% cash back on your debit purchases, plus you’ll earn up to 11 times the average interest on the money you set aside to save (the FDIC reports that the average account earns just .09%).
It takes just five minutes to sign up and earn your bonus.
6. Invest Like a Tycoon (Even If You’re Not Rich)
Maybe you’ve thought about investing your extra cash, but you’re not sure where to start. We found a company that helps you become a real estate investor — and you don’t have to be a millionaire.
You can get started with a minimum investment of just $500. Through the Fundrise Starter Portfolio, your money will be invested in portfolios of real estate around the United States.
You can see exactly which properties are included in your portfolios — like a set of townhomes in Snoqualmie, Washington, or an apartment building in Charlotte, North Carolina.
And you don’t have to be the landlord — Fundrise does all the heavy lifting.
As tenants pay their rent, you can earn money through quarterly dividend payments and potential appreciation of the property.
It’s a great way to get started in the world of investing now that you’ve built up a bit of savings.
Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at Codetic. He has money saved for retirement, but not enough.