This Simple 401(k) Strategy Can Help Make You a Millionaire Before Retirement

Fidelity’s report on 401(k) millionaires proves that building a seven-figure retirement portfolio isn’t out of reach. The number of 401(k) millionaires climbed to 412,000 in the second quarter of 2021. With the increased contribution limits and access to investor-friendly information, shooting past the million-dollar mark is more achievable than ever.

If you’re stuck and have no idea how to get started, here are some tips to help you get closer to your 401(k) treasure.

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Understand the ins and outs of your 401(k) plan

You typically won’t get a crash course on your employer’s 401(k) plan, so it’s up to you to do your research and ask the right questions. Investigating the following will help you create your 401(k) game plan:

What type of investment options does your plan offer?
Are there any expenses or fees associated with your retirement plan?
How long will it take to become vested?
Does your employer offer a matching contribution?

After you understand how your 401(k) works, you can set goals. Think about your risk tolerance, time horizon, and retirement date to help you refine your goals. You should also think about the type of life you want to live and how a 401(k) can play a role in your overall retirement plan.

If your goals seem impossible to reach, start breaking them down into bite-sized pieces. Ask yourself the following questions:

How can I turn an annual goal into a monthly or weekly goal?
Am I expecting a raise or a bonus that can help achieve my goal for the year?
Can I use the 401(k) as a tax strategy to reduce my tax bill and save more money?

Don’t underestimate the power of setting goals, planning, and scouting out information on your 401(k) journey. It could be the difference between an empty nest and a seven-figure portfolio that funds your retirement lifestyle.

Contribute to your 401(k) plan consistently

Consistency is the secret sauce for achieving many goals, and it’s no different when it comes to hitting your 401(k) targets. You should set yourself up to contribute every year if possible.

Here are a few financial goals you can conquer to make it easier to stash money away in a 401(k):

Pay off debt.
Build a solid emergency fund.
Make sure your monthly expenses don’t get out of control.

After you evaluate your financial situation, you should calculate how much you are able to comfortably save in a 401(k). For 2022, you can contribute up to $20,500 in a 401(k) if you’re under 50. That number goes up to $27,000 if you’re 50 and over.

Make smart investments

Your research will pay off when it’s time to select the best mix of investments for your portfolio. Here are some options you may come across:

Index funds.
Small-cap stock funds.
Target-date funds.

Although it’s tempting to take the safest path, that may actually hold you back from your million-dollar portfolio goals. If your risk tolerance allows it, don’t be afraid to dress your portfolio up with some stock investments. This can help you get closer to a 10% return. A well-diversified portfolio of investments will give you a stronger foundation to manage uncertainties in the marketplace.

Your millionaire game plan starts now

Achieving millionaire status won’t happen overnight, but it can be possible if you execute simple strategies every year. Your 401(k) may be a good place for you to jump-start those goals, especially if you’re already investing in it and your employer offers matching contributions. But if you happen to leave your job and no longer have access to a 401(k), you can always convert your account into a Roth IRA and start working on your tax-free million dollar portfolio. But be careful. Converting money from a traditional 401(k) to a Roth IRA can potentially trigger significant tax consequences for the tax year.

The moves you make today will determine the life your future self will inherit. Understanding how your 401(k) works can go a long way on your journey and help you make better decisions. So, take a few minutes out your schedule to do your research and ask questions. Those minutes can turn into a million-dollar portfolio if you’re consistent on your journey.

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