Stop us if you’ve heard this one. As financial advisors, we always recommend you max out your 401k or 403b contrib…

Oh, you have heard that one.  

Yeah, you know the spiel. When you max out, you are investing income now, pre-tax, that can form the basis of your retirement down the road. But finding $19,500, or $26,000 if you’re over 50 is easier said than done.

Fortunately, there are ways to increase income into your 401k without losing a penny of your paycheck, depending on your circumstances.

Get a raise? Raise your contribution.

Many companies offer annual raises, or at least cost of living adjustments. That extra 2 or 3 percent might not seem like much, especially distributed over a couple dozen pay periods, but they can have an enormous impact on your retirement.

You’ve probably found that you don’t really miss the income you set aside for your 401k. You’ve budgeted it in, and you’ve accounted for it. Same principle applies. Unless you have foreseeable increases in your monthly budget, set aside your raise each year to prepare for the future while paying your bills now.

Turn that windfall into a nest egg

You depend on your regular paycheck to pay your bills. In fact, you probably have direct deposit set up, and might even have automatic bill pay set up from your bank account. You can go weeks without seeing any of your own money.  

But sometimes, some good fortune comes along. Perhaps you scored a side gig from an old colleague, and are getting some extra money outside of normal work hours. Perhaps you got a quarterly performance bonus. Maybe you got more than you expected on your tax return.

While it might be tempting to spend that windfall on a vacation or new furniture, consider using it to give you financial flexibility down the road. Instead of a free trip, call it free peace of mind. 

Use tax-deferred options as a supplement

If you are at the height of your career and using the Roth option, consider switching to a traditional 401k or 403b. Why? When you defer the tax on your income until you withdraw it, you’ll be taking it back out when you are in a lower tax bracket. That means you’re putting money away before you pay tax on it, which means you are keeping your paycheck the same.  

Of course, not every situation is the same. Knowing how and when to take advantage of these options depends on your financial goals. Talk with an experienced advisor to set your goals and assess your investment performance against them.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

This article was originally published in the Pioneer Press. You may view the article here.

Peg Webb

Peg Webb

Senior Vice President, Financial Advisor & Host of the “Your Money” radio show

Series 7, 53 & 63 Securities Registrations,1 Series 65 Advisory Registration,† Insurance License Peg was attracted to the financial services industry early in her career. She feels fortunate to be able to use her 30 years of in-depth knowledge working alongside Preston, the Roundtable™ and their staff to prepare clients for retirement. A lifelong learner, she enjoys collaborating with her team to stay on top of the best practices regarding comprehensive planning....Read More