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1 Retirement Savings Hack That Could Boost Your Savings by $219,000 - The Motley Fool

Author: The Motley Fool

Source: https://www.fool.com/retirement/2023/10/28/1-retirement-savings-hack-boost-savings-219000/

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Saving for retirement is tough, and if you're falling behind, you're not alone.The average retirement account balance is around $113,000 as of 2022, according to Vanguard's most recent "How America Saves" report, and the median balance is only around $27,000.However, as retirement costs continue to rise and Social Security faces ongoing financial struggles, workers may need to save more than ever to retire comfortably.Image source: Getty Images.Fortunately, many workers have access to a special retirement savings perk that could help save hundreds of thousands of dollars more while barely lifting a finger.Here's everything you need to know.Instantly double your retirement savingsIf you have access to a 401(k) through your employer, you may be entitled to employer matching contributions.With this perk, your employer will match your 401(k) contributions, usually up to a certain percentage of your salary.While the employer match may not seem like much on the surface, it can add up significantly over time -- so it's wise to take full advantage of it.The median income among U.S.workers as of 2022 is $55,068 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the average company match is 3.5% of a worker's wages. That amounts to around $1,927 per year in this case.If we assume you're earning a modest 8% average annual return on your investments, here's roughly how much that $1,927 per year (or roughly $161 per month) could add up to over time:Number of YearsTotal Portfolio Value20$88,00025$141,00030$219,00035$333,00040$500,000Data source: Investor.gov.Table by author.To accumulate around $219,000 in savings, you'd need to invest consistently for around 30 years.Keep in mind that these figures only account for the employer match.Once you factor in your own contributions, you'd have at least double these numbers.Also, most people will experience salary increases throughout their careers.Because the company match is often a percentage of your wages, you could earn more over time from your employer as your income rises.Increasing your savingsIt's wise to ensure you're at least investing enough to earn the full employer match. But that sometimes amounts to saving hundreds of dollars per month, which isn't easy for many people.If you're struggling to save, it can sometimes be helpful to set up automatic contributions to your retirement account.With a 401(k), you can often have a set amount of money transferred straight from your paycheck to your retirement fund -- which can make it easier to save that cash before you have a chance to spend it.Keep in mind, too, that saving even a little is better than nothing at all -- especially if your company offers matching contributions.Even if you can only afford to save a few dollars per week, getting started now while time is on your side can still help you accumulate more than if you were to invest more per month later down the road.Not all 401(k) plans offer matching contributions, but if yours does, it's wise to try your best to max out your match.While it may not seem like much right now, it could easily amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars over time with next to no effort on your part.

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