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Top 7 Retirement Life Hacks

Don't we all love life hacks that can help make things a little bit easier? But the best tricks are those that save us money.

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Key Takeaways

Many people report not having saved enough for retirement. Simple strategies can help you save more and feel more confident.

Taking advantage of your retirement plan at work, as well as opening other accounts on your own, can help you reach your goals.

Once you’ve put your savings plan into place, stick with it. Automatic contributions and financial tools can help you stay on track.

Life hacks make your daily routine a little easier—for cooking, cleaning, traveling, etc. Our retirement hacks can help make your saving and investing routine easier, too. From employer matches to automatic investments, we’ve got ideas that can help upgrade your financial habits.

Saving for Retirement Now Is Crucial

No matter how near or far you are from retirement, saving for your future should be a priority. Unfortunately, many people don't put that into practice.

According to the Federal Reserve’s most recent data, about a quarter of pre-retirees don’t have any retirement savings. And while most do have at least some savings, only 40% of pre-retirees felt confident they were on track for retirement.

Many of us need a reality check about how much we should save. The good news is that it's never too late to start saving—or to start saving more. Below are some retirement life hacks that may help make it more doable.

1. Let Your Employer Kick In

If you have a retirement plan at work that offers matching contributions, take advantage of it and contribute at least the match amount. Employer matches usually range from 3% to 5% of employee contributions. Do the math on your own match (we used 4% as an example), and don't miss out on what you could be saving.

Your 4% + Employer's 4% = 8% of your salary saved every year for retirement

2. Take Charge of Your Retirement

Not everyone has access to a workplace plan, but you can set up your own retirement account: an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). There's no match, but like some employer plans, you can receive tax benefits. Explore the different types of IRAs and start investing, even if it's a small amount. Self-employed individuals also can invest in plans like a SEP IRA and potentially receive business tax deductions on contributions—a win-win for you and your business.

3. Use a Bonus Retirement Account

A Health Savings Account (HSA), a specialized savings account used to pay for medical expenses, isn’t usually considered a retirement account. But after age 65, you can use that money for anything—medical or otherwise—making it an often-overlooked tool for retirement savings.

4. Invest and Repeat

A sound financial principle is to practice regular investing. That's easier to do when you set up automatic investments from your bank. In addition to helping you make retirement a priority every month, it can also take the guesswork out of when to invest. Saving regularly may also increase your chances of having enough money in retirement.

5. Invest and Increase

Another tactic is to gradually increase your retirement savings every year, even by a percentage or two. Many workplace retirement plans allow you to do this with an annual escalation feature on your automatic contributions.

6. Repurpose Your Tax Refund

It's easy to use a tax refund as a bonus to buy something special or go on a vacation. Investing it instead can give your retirement savings an additional boost.

7. Manage Your Money Smarter

It's easier than ever to track your retirement savings and manage your overall finances with online tools. Smartphone apps can also bring investing, spending and budgeting into one view and help you manage your money more efficiently. Many offer insights to help improve your finances with a comprehensive assessment or guidance. Plus, it's a great way to stay organized.

Today's Decisions Affect Tomorrow's Lifestyle

Saving for retirement will likely be one of your most important goals. Whether you do or don't, and how much you save, will directly affect the kind of life you live after you're finished working. Remember, it's never too late to begin, so start hacking for your future.

Need Help Getting Started—or Want to Check In?

The best way to approach retirement savings is to have a plan. A Financial Consultant can help.

IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: American Century Companies, Inc. and its affiliates do not provide tax advice. Accordingly, any discussion of U.S. tax matters contained herein (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, in connection with the promotion, marketing or recommendation by anyone unaffiliated with American Century Companies, Inc. of any of the matters addressed herein or for the purpose of avoiding U.S. tax-related penalties.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor for more detailed information or for advice regarding your individual situation.

You could lose money by investing in a mutual fund, even if through your employer's plan or an IRA. An investment in a mutual fund is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

This material has been prepared for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, investment, accounting, legal or tax advice.