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Pay off your debts

Before you start putting some funds aside, make sure you’ve either settled or have a plan for settling all your debts.

This could include credit card debt, the mortgage on your house or the remaining balance on your student loan.

You don’t want to keep racking up on interest charges while trying to save — especially with rates as high as they are currently. Credit card interest rates have already hit record highs this year after the Federal Reserve’s last interest rate hike.

If you’ve got multiple lines of credit to take care of, look into your options and start reducing your debt load. You could try negotiating with your lender or consider a debt consolidation plan that keeps you on track and with a lower interest rate.

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Look into the right investment vehicles

Does your employer offer a 401(k) plan? Or are you getting tax breaks through an IRA?

If you don’t have a 401(k) through your employer, look into opening an IRA or a Roth IRA. Decide which option works best for you and start shuffling funds into your preferred retirement vehicle.

401(k) vs. IRA vs. Roth IRA: Which is best for you?

  • 401(k): This retirement plan lets you divert some of your pre-tax pay into a 401(k), so you reduce your taxable income — the higher your income, the greater your tax savings. And your money grows tax-free until you make withdrawals in retirement. Your employer may also offer matching contributions.

  • Traditional IRA: A traditional IRA gives you the ability to contribute “pre-tax” income and allow it to grow tax-free until you make withdrawals in retirement. However, your contribution limits are lower than what they would be in a 401(k).

  • Roth IRA: This vehicle lets you pay taxes upfront on your contributions, so when you withdraw the money in retirement, your withdrawals and earnings are usually tax-free. However, you’re only eligible for this account depending on your filing status and income threshold, as determined by the IRS.

Once you turn 50, you can start making yearly catch-up contributions too. You’re allowed to contribute up to $7,500 in a 401(k) and up to $1,000 in an IRA in 2023.

Find alternate sources of income

Instead of just stashing a bit of money from your paycheck into your retirement account, consider investing it instead.

Although the stock market’s been down, this could be a good opportunity to buy shares while they’re cheap. Consider building your portfolio with sectors that traditionally perform well throughout economic cycles, like health care, utilities and consumer staples.

Another option is to work additional hours with a side hustle, so you can put away the extra cash into savings or investments.

Research from job posting website Zippia found that nearly half of Americans have side hustles in 2022 — and while older Americans aren’t as likely to have them, those that do tend to make more money from them.

Americans aged 45 to 54 make $892 a month from their side hustles, while those aged 55 to 65 earn around $1,061 a month on average. Popular options can include renting out a property you own or reselling items on eBay or Amazon.

Jump-start your retirement plan with personalized advice

Are your retirement savings on track? Get personalized advice from a financial advisor that understands your needs.

Datalign matches you with vetted registered advisors that can help you improve your investment portfolio and grow your retirement savings safely. In minutes, you can connect with a local or remote advisor and get a free initial consultation.

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The content provided on MoneyWise is information to help users become financially literate. It is neither tax nor legal advice, is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. Tax, investment and all other decisions should be made, as appropriate, only with guidance from a qualified professional. We make no representation or warranty of any kind, either express or implied, with respect to the data provided, the timeliness thereof, the results to be obtained by the use thereof or any other matter.