A 401(k) plan is sponsored by participating employers, many offering matching funds, so their employees can have income in their retirement years. Workers contribute in more ways than just through a portion of their salaries. They can make moves that increase the value of their accounts.
Just like investing on your own, you have opportunities available with some limitations, according to the company plan and tax guidelines. Take the time occasionally to look at your plan because it’s your retirement money.
Here are six of the best moves you can make with your 401(k):
1. Take control — Some employees become complacent with their company handling their accounts and how much is invested. Putting away 10 percent of your income is a good goal, but you might want to invest 15 percent or more of your salary for better growth and even early retirement, according to the Motley Fool.
2. Rebalancing —Younger workers may have a higher percentage of moderately risky stocks in their portfolio with a lower amount of bonds. A vibrant stock market increases the value of your fund, but putting more into bonds and less in equities makes sense as you get closer to retirement age to avoid a bear market. A 60-year-old worker benefits from 50 to 60 percent of investments in stocks, according to Time. Some advisors suggest having 40 percent or less in equities as you near retirement.
3. Long-term goals — Base decisions for your 401(k) plan on when you think you’ll be retiring or how much earlier you want to retire through aggressive investing. Analyze your fund’s balances once a year for better future decisions, John Wasik advises in Forbes. Use the life expectancy calculator offered through the Social Security website. Type in your birthdate and determine how many years you may live for your investment strategies.
4. Keep contributing — Don’t try to time the market and stop contributing to your plan. Allow your money to grow while you are still getting income from a steady paycheck for continued growth and more money for retirement, Senior.com points out.
5. Consider a Roth 401(k) — Contributions don’t have the tax breaks, but earnings and withdrawals are tax-free. Younger employees may prefer a Roth 401(k) if their company offers it to increase their savings while older workers might want to redirect some of their money into a Roth for larger, tax-free withdrawals.
6. IRA rollover — An IRA gives you unlimited choices and flexibility in your investments, as opposed to a 401(k) plan, which may only have five or 10 options from an employer, USA Today reports. If you chose this route, do a direct rollover from a 401(k) into an IRA without touching the money to avoid IRS penalties of an early withdrawal.
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