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  • Writer's pictureAntonise De Wet

How much should you invest in your 401K?

You probably have a lot of questions and worries about investing for retirement, regardless of your age. What options are available, how to save for it, and most importantly, how much money should you be setting aside? How much of your salary you should deposit into your 401(k) account is not subject to any strict guidelines. However, in general, regardless of your own financial situation, you should always think about making the most contribution feasible. The majority of retirement gurus advise you to invest 10% to 15% of your annual salary to your 401(k). In 2022, you can make a maximum contribution of $20,500, or $27,000 if you're 50 or older. The top contribution threshold for people rises to $22,500 in 2023, or $30,000 if you're 50 or older. Ages 50 and older may contribute an additional $6,500 in 2022, while the IRS is raising the cap to $7,500 in that year.

Consider how much you'll require in retirement.

It costs a lot of money to contribute the maximum to your 401(k), especially over the course of many years. It can be even more than you require, or it might not be enough to pay your retirement. Your desired level of retirement savings should serve as a guide for your 401(k) contribution amount. Depending on when you intend to retire, how much of your present income you'd like to replace, and how much you want to rely on Social Security, you'll need a certain amount of money in retirement. The majority of experts advise saving 10% to 15% of your salary, but our recommendation is to use a retirement calculator to choose a more specific goal.

Benefit from corporate matching

Consider making at least as much of a contribution to your 401(k) as your employer will match, if you are fortunate enough to have an employer who does so. In order to fully benefit from the employer match benefit, strive to contribute at least that amount, if you can, let's say your employer will match up to 6% of your pay. You might want to take advantage of matching contributions while you still can because they are practically free money.

What if your employer match isn't possible?

Aim to increase your retirement contributions by 1% to 2% year if you aren't currently in a position to make enough to meet your employer's match and, consequently, not enough to attain the targeted 15% savings rate. It's important to make sure you are signed up for what is known as a "auto-escalation" option since, if you want to do so, certain firms will automatically increase your contribution rate every year. CFP and founder of Delancey Wealth Management Ivory Johnson suggests raising your contribution rate as your earnings rises until you reach the maximum. There is a cap on the amount you can put into your 401(k) each year (k). The normal annual contribution cap for 401(k) plans is $19,500 in 2021. Additionally, those over 50 can increase their 401(k) account balance by an additional $6,500 via catch-up contributions. Employer contributions are not included in determining those specific caps. Before automatically attempting to contribute the maximum allowed under their 401(k), Lynch advises retirement savers to be thoughtful about the magic number they would like to put into their account.

Create an emergency fund.

You should not devote all of your savings to retirement even though you want to save as much as you can for it. Always keep enough cash on hand to pay for necessities like rent and food. Another smart move is to start an emergency fund.

Your emergency fund will shield you from unforeseen costs and challenging financial circumstances. If you lost your work or weren't paid regularly for a month, what would you do? What if you had medical costs to pay and a family member fell ill? You can get through difficult times if you have a substantial emergency fund. Your retirement savings should only be used as a last option for cash withdrawals. In addition, having an emergency fund will give you peace of mind because it will give you a sense of security. It's comforting to have a backup strategy in place in case something goes wrong.

Again, there is no ideal amount that everyone should have set up for emergencies. Depending on your circumstances. However, generally speaking, you need enough to last at least a few months. That may sound like a lot if currently have no emergency fund, but you can build your fund over time by adding a little each week or month.


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