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Get Smart About Saving For Retirement

The start of a new year provides a great opportunity to look at your retirement accounts, whether you want to increase your contributions or simply begin to build your savings.

Matt Meese, an investment services sales manager at Mountain America Credit Union, tells clients to start building their retirement early, even if it’s small contributions and to stay focused on growing those funds.

“It’s incredible to see people with modest incomes still retire well because of their discipline,” Meese says. “Many of us don’t have a lot of money, but we do have time. The power of compounding interest is amazing, but it needs time to work.”

First and foremost, make sure you don’t leave money on the table if your employer offers matching contributions to your 401(k) or other retirement accounts. At the very least, have enough deducted to receive the full amount offered by your employer.

Another way to leverage your salary is to increase your contribution anytime you receive a raise, annual or otherwise. If you bump the contribution by 1 percent, you will still see an increase in net pay while also adding to your retirement funds.

If you don’t have access to a 401(k), you can save for retirement with a traditional or Roth IRA. Be sure to schedule automatic contributions (direct from your paycheck, if possible) to the retirement account. Failure to automate often means people forgo their retirement savings. Don’t make that mistake.

Finally, regardless of your age, consulting a financial adviser can help you determine the best way to prepare for retirement. Among other things, an adviser can determine the amount you will need to retire comfortably and guide your investment decisions. You can also leverage tools such as the retirement calculator at www.macu.com or the 401(k) calculator at www.aarp.org to see how much difference your contributions can make.

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