If you have a 401(k), IRA, or other tax-advantaged retirement account, you can get tax breaks that let you build your nest egg a lot quicker.
But surprisingly, 6 in 10 working-age Americans don’t have one. They’re neglecting one of the BEST ways to grow their wealth.
And if you’re one of the growing number of Americans freelancing — or a part of the gig economy — traditional benefits like 401(k)s just aren’t available.
But you still have options.
Teaser: Just follow a few simple steps >>
The truth is, opening a retirement savings account is a piece of cake.
Just follow a few simple steps:
- If you work for an employer: Ask HR if a plan is available. This will normally be a 401(k) or a 403(b), but other plans exist. You can get the paperwork (or online forms) from HR. Then simply open an account with the administrator your employer has chosen. You’ll need to decide how much money to contribute from each paycheck. The funds are taken out automatically and moved into your account. Some employers will even match an often-large percentage of your contributions!
- If you are self-employed, an independent contractor or freelance: You can open a retirement account on your own. Normally you’ll need to choose between a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA. Traditional IRAs allow you to make tax-deductible contributions. Roth IRAs are contributed to with after-tax money, but you make withdrawals tax-free in retirement. There are also other types of retirement accounts for the self-employed, which may allow bigger contributions.
- Choose a brokerage firm or financial institution: You can open an IRA with pretty much any broker. (Some banks and credit unions also allow you to open an IRA, as do robo-advisers and institutions offering nontraditional investment options, such as peer-to-peer lenders.) Ideally, you’ll want a broker with no fees; low commissions; low or no minimum balance required; and a variety of asset classes you can invest in.
- Open your account: You can almost always do this online. You’ll just need to provide your Social Security number and other financial information. It normally takes just a few minutes.
Once you’ve opened an account, you can start making contributions. Just know there are annual limits on how large your tax-deductible contributions can be.
And you may not be able to deduct IRA contributions if your income is too high and either you or your spouse has a retirement plan at work.
Next, and most importantly, you want to start investing.
Except for robo-advisers, which automatically invest for you, you’ll have to pick your investments and buy them. If you’re not sure where to get started, my monthly newsletter, Wealth Supercycle, is a great place to start.
All the best,