For some, retirement might feel so distant as to be unimportant to address today. However, many would argue that it is impossible to start saving too early, as the earlier you begin, the sooner you may be able to retire.
According to a 2020 Statista poll, 41% of Americans had retirement savings of less than $100,000. And because pensions and Social Security benefits are dwindling, future generations are susceptible to not having enough money to sustain their post-work lifestyles.
Fortunately, there are numerous opportunities to begin retirement savings today. And with a few easy steps and commitments, you may feel assured that you’re providing yourself the opportunity to retire comfortably – and potentially even retire early.
These three retirement accounts can assist you in accumulating money over the long run, and you can begin today. Below are the tax-advantaged retirement accounts you may begin funding and important considerations for each.
It is vital to realize that there is no single method for saving for retirement. With record-low interest rates and strong inflation, however, storing money in a savings account is unlikely to accomplish this. You must invest to achieve your retirement objectives. In addition to allowing you to develop your money through the market, the accounts listed below also provide tax advantages.
While investing in the stock market may seem risky, basic, low-cost index funds can provide long-term consistency. Consider holding these accounts and investing in indexes that track the S&P 500. And by the time you retire, your funds will have compounded for around 30 years.
But even if you’re closer to your target retirement age, there are still plenty of opportunities to save for retirement today. Here are three potential accounts to consider.
Health Insurance Savings Account (HSA)
A Health Savings Account (HSA) allows consumers with a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) to save for future medical bills. Here is how it operates:
If your workplace provides an HSA and you have an HDHP, your paycheck can be deposited into an HSA before taxes. You can be paid for approved medical expenditures with these funds or invest them in stocks, bonds, or index funds.
When you use the money for medical expenses, your money grows tax-free. Using this as a retirement account, you can withdraw funds without incurring any fees at age 65. You will only be required to pay ordinary income tax on the money, but you are not required to spend it on medical costs after age 65.
This account is commonly referred to as “triple tax-advantaged” because deposits are tax-free, growth is tax-free, and withdrawals are tax-free if certain conditions are met.
The deposit limits for 2024 are $3,650 for individuals and $7,300 for families, which is a modest increase from 2021. If your company does not provide an HSA, you can create one and receive a tax deduction for your payments.
A 401(k) is a business account in which pre-tax funds can be saved for retirement. Sometimes, your company may give a dollar-for-dollar matching contribution, basically “free money,” to encourage you to save. However, the account is subject to a few restrictions. Once you reach the age of 59.5, you may withdraw assets from your 401(k) without incurring a penalty. The funds you withdraw will be subject to ordinary income tax once you withdraw them. And if you choose not to touch your 401(k) and want compound interest to continue working for you, you must take withdrawals by April 1 after you reach 72 years old.
In 2024, the maximum deposit amount is $20,500, which does not include employer-matched contributions. If your workplace does not provide a 401(k), you may consider opening a regular IRA, which gives similar advantages.
In 2024, you can contribute $6,000 annually to an IRA.
IRAs come in two flavors: Traditional IRA and Roth IRA. Traditional IRA deposits are tax-free, and you pay ordinary taxes on the withdrawal. When you reach age 72 (or if you reach 70.5 before January 1, 2020), you can begin taking withdrawals from your IRA.
A Roth IRA is a retirement account provided by various brokerages, such as Fidelity and Vanguard, in which you can now invest after-tax funds and reap retirement tax benefits. As you will be investing revenue that has already been taxed, the account offers no tax benefits initially. When you withdraw your assets, which you may do after you reach 59.5 years of age, you will not be taxed on any of the money, including any profits.
In 2024, the maximum deposit per individual is $6,000. You may register a Roth IRA with a Robo-advisor who will construct a unique portfolio depending on your risk tolerance and retirement date if you want a hands-off approach to investing. Robo-advisors like Wealthfront, Betterment, and SoFi will modify your investments as the goal date approaches.
The significance of investing in the future
All three of these accounts allow you to lawfully dodge taxes and invest in the stock market for retirement preparation. Here’s what that means for your finances:
As an illustration, suppose you max out each of these accounts as a single filer in 2024. That would be an investment of $30,150 in the stock market (assuming no company match for 401k), and with a moderate 7% average rate of return over 30 years, it would be worth approximately $230,000.
As another illustration, suppose you could invest $15,000 annually across all three accounts for the next 30 years. With a total investment of $450,000, you would end up with a little over $1.5 million assuming a return of 7%. And if you did that for 35 years, you would finish up with more than $2,200,000.
The foundation of compound interest is the passage of time. The longer your investment has to compound and expand, the greater its growth will be.
Although saving for retirement may be postponed, it is never too early to begin. And delaying gives your dollars less time to grow on the market.
If you are still planning your financial objectives for the year, you might consider spending part of your efforts on these accounts, provided that your high-interest loans have been paid off and your budget is balanced.