3 Important Retirement Moves to Make Before the End of Summer | Personal finance

(Maurie Backman)

It’s hard to believe it, but the summer of 2022 is effectively coming to an end this weekend (at least according to those who feel it wraps up on Labor Day). And that means you only have a few months left this year to set yourself up for a solid retirement. Here are a few essential moves to make in that regard before 2022 wraps up.

1. Claim your full 401(k) match

If you have a 401(k) plan through your employer, you have a prime opportunity to save a bundle for retirement, especially if there are matching dollars to be claimed. But if you haven’t yet put in enough money from your own paychecks to snag your complete employer match, now’s the time to increase your savings rate.

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Giving up any part of a 401(k) match is basically the same thing as giving up free money. And that’s not something you want to do, especially in the context of retirement savings (namely, because you’ll need a decent-sized nest egg to live comfortably as a senior).

2. Ramp up your savings rate in general

Maybe you’ve already put in enough money to claim your full 401(k) match this year. But have you maxed out your 401(k) itself, or your IRA? If not, now’s a good time to pump more money into your retirement savings plan.

Granted, if you have a 401(k), maxing out may be difficult, as you’re allowed to contribute up to $20,500 if you’re under the age of 50 and up to $27,000 if you’re 50 or older. If you earn an average wage, these limits may not be attainable.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t try to save a little bit more. Say you’ve put $400 a month into your 401(k) over the past eight months. If possible, try to put $500 a month in from September through December. Similarly, if you’re 45 years old and have been putting $400 a month into your IRA, it means implementing some budget changes that could make it possible to max out your contributions at $6,000 for the year.

3. Check up on your retirement investments

The money in your 401(k) or IRA shouldn’t just sit in cash. Rather, it’s important to invest your savings for added growth. If you haven’t done an investment checkup this year, now’s a good time to give your portfolio a closer look and make sure it’s set up in a manner that’s age-appropriate.

If you’re many years away from retirement, you should be heavily invested in stocks. But if you’re nearing retirement, it may be time to start shifting over to bonds, which tend to be less volatile.

You’ll also want to make sure your retirement portfolio is nice and diverse. If you’re holding individual stocks in an IRA, make sure you have money in a host of different market segments. You don’t, for example, want to put 60% of your long-term savings into tech stocks only and hope for the best.

While many people don’t want to wave goodbye to summer, the reality is that we’re at that point. So rather than bemoan it, take the opportunity to shore up your retirement finances over the next four months.

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