How to Become a 401(k) Millionaire

LAST REVIEWED May 01 2020 8 MIN READ

By The Human Interest Team

If you have a few million dollars in your 401(k) account, it’s less likely that you’ll have financial worries during your retirement. While it’s possible to become a 401(k) millionaire, it’s a daunting task that requires excellent financial management skills, a solid retirement plan, and a lot of discipline. Below is a comprehensive guide on how to become a 401(k) millionaire.

Is It Possible To Become a 401(k) Millionaire?

Perhaps you won’t have $1 million or more in your retirement account. However, if you start implementing effective strategies now, you may be able to double or triple your retirement funds. It all depends on your ability to learn how to manage your finances and make the right investments.

How To Become a 401(k) Millionaire at Different Ages

Becoming a 401(k) millionaire is a long-term process that requires a combination of strategy and discipline. The following are effective tips on how to become a 401(k) millionaire starting at different ages:

20s

When you’re in your 20s, you’re just beginning to spread your wings, regardless of your career. At the end of this decade, you may find yourself considering getting married, buying a home, and having children. However, you’re relatively unencumbered at the beginning, which makes it the ideal time to evaluate your finances and adopt healthy habits for a solid foundation. Follow these tips to boost your retirement savings in your 20s.

  • Go through your past bank and credit card statements to see how much you spend on rent, utilities, transportation, meals, groceries, entertainment, and debt payment. Subtract your expenses from your income to see what’s left. Try to spend more consciously and make some cuts.

  • Check your spending history and find one or two things you can save on.

  • Try to contribute more to your retirement. People who contribute 15% instead of 10% annually will become millionaires faster. They may cross over after only 26 years instead of 30 years. If you contribute 20%, you can reduce the number to 24 years.

  • Increase your earnings. Getting a raise is one of the best ways to accelerate your retirement savings.

  • Open a separate account to keep funds meant for paying your debts, vacation, and holiday gifts.

  • Use your workplace retirement plan if you have one. Don’t be deterred by the recommended percentages.

  • Save 1% of your income to pay your credit card or student loan debt.

  • Consider investing in a target-date fund, because it’s a simple way to diversify your investments. This type of investment seeks to grow assets to a targeted goal within a specified timeframe. It’s typically a mutual fund that combines stocks, bonds, and other forms of investments. It can be a turnkey option for a retirement saver because it bases its aggressiveness on a target retirement date. However, it’s important to note that target-date funds also have their drawbacks.

  • If you don’t have a workplace retirement plan, start an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and then set your deposits on auto.

30s

You’ll probably feel more confident about your financial well-being when you reach your 30s. This may be the busiest time of your life as you try to start a family or buy a home. As such, you have to make a point to save consistently. Since you’re likely to move into a more mature stage in your career, you’re going to have significantly less free time. Below are some effective ways to save for retirement in your 30s:

  • Start investing if you haven’t done so yet. If you want to have a clear understanding of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and other types of investments, you can learn from the Securities and Exchange Commission, which explains everything in simple language.

  • If your employer matches your contributions to your 401(k) or 403(b) plan, take full advantage of it to double your savings. It’s essentially free money. 

40s

If you’re behind on your retirement savings by the time you reach your 40s, you can catch up by using the following strategies:

  • Increase your savings. People in their 40s should have about three times their annual salaries in their retirement accounts. Therefore, if your income is $60,000, your goal is to save $180,000 by this time. Make a point to save 15%, but you’ll be better off if you can save 20% or more.

  • With retirement about 20 years away, it’s time to invest more actively. Even if the stock market is experiencing a downturn, there’s plenty of time for it to recover.

50s and Beyond

If you’re way short of your retirement savings target when you’re in your 50s or beyond, it can be very difficult to get back on the right track. However, there are a few strategies that can help you increase the size of your nest egg within a short time:

  • Work longer hours or get a part-time job.

  • Address your spending and make some lifestyle changes to increase your savings. Finding a more affordable place to stay may be the way to go.

  • Funnel a large portion of your salary into your workplace plan. When you’re in your 50s, you’re allowed to make catch-up contributions, giving you the opportunity to save more aggressively.

  • Invest in an increased percentage of equities. While some people prefer to shift to bonds when they’re in their 50s or 60s, those who are behind on their retirement savings may have to take a bigger risk and stay invested like people in their 30s or 40s.

  • Make sure you have enough insurance coverage and a healthy emergency fund.

If you need more tips on saving for retirement with a 401(k), don’t hesitate to contact the helpful experts at Human Interest. We’re ready to help you get on track to a comfortable and happy retirement.

We believe that everyone deserves access to a secure financial future, which is why we make it easy to provide a 401(k) to your employees. Human Interest offers a low-cost 401(k) with automated administration, built-in investment advising, and integration with leading payroll providers.

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