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- My husband and I are finally on track for retirement thanks to automatic monthly contributions.
- Automatic contributions aren’t always fun, but they’re helping us save $2 million by 2052.
- We contribute to my husband’s 401(k), as well as a SEP IRA for me.
- Use Blooom to analyze your 401(k) today and see how you can grow your retirement savings »
After years of falling short when it came to our retirement goals, my husband and I recently signed off on automatic contributions to fund our investment and retirement accounts. The results have been a complete game-changer for our finances.
It’s not only taken the headache out of saving and investing each month, but it’s also ensured that we are on track for retirement — or will be, soon. Here’s how automated payments completely changed our retirement outlook.
We’re filling various buckets
We contribute to several different retirement accounts via our monthly automated contributions — my SEP IRA, our kids’ 529 college savings plans, and my husband’s employer-matched 401(k).
Based on our current contributions, we’ll have just shy of $2 million in 2052 when we retire. While that number seems impressive now, I know we’ll need more to keep us afloat during retirement, especially if we plan to increase our annual spending in our Golden Years. (And, as someone who’s been pretty vocal about retiring in Napa Valley, I plan to.)
That’s why we plan to increase our monthly contributions as our income grows — and we’ll automate those payments as well. This will eventually close the small shortfall that still exists in our retirement savings plan.
While automatic contributions aren’t always fun (sure, who wouldn’t want to spend that money on a nice Caribbean vacation?) for us, it’s been the easiest path to retirement security.
We take advantage of employer matches
My husband is lucky enough to work for a big company with a 401(k) plan and an employer match. We’ve set up an automated contribution of 5% of his annual salary, and his employer matches another 4% on top of that.
With two young children, limited childcare, and my unpredictable freelance income, this isn’t always easy. But most of the time, we don’t even notice this money is gone. Another bonus? Those pre-tax contributions lower our taxable income.
We shop around for the best retirement savings vehicles
I’m a full-time freelance writer. As such, I don’t have access to a 401(k). And while I wouldn’t give up the freedom my career path has given me for any amount of money, including a better retirement savings plan, this means I need to make my dollars stretch a bit further when it comes to saving for retirement.
I’d been contributing to a traditional IRA sporadically since I went full-time freelance almost four years ago. But I recently got a new financial advisor and she suggested I channel these funds into a SEP IRA instead. This account offers better tax benefits for the self-employed, like lowering my taxable income, plus has higher contribution limits than a traditional or Roth IRA.
We’re not retirement saving experts — far from it. In fact, I was pretty bad at saving for retirement for most of my 20s. It was only recently that I really started to take it seriously, and that’s when my family found a realistic way to reach our retirement goals. In our case, automated contributions are what’s gotten us on track for a successful, stress-free retirement.
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