How to Increase Your Retirement Savings in 6 Steps

Do you have less than $25,000 in your retirement account right now?

You’re far from alone, my friend. The fact is, 40% of Americans have less than $25,000 saved for retirement, according to a Northwestern Mutual study. That’s scary.

But, hey, we’re not here to lecture you or instill fear in you. We’re here to cheer you on and show you how to get back on track.

We’ve got six ways to boost your balance and sock away more savings for your golden years. Bonus: You can start doing most of these things today!

1. Get Every Penny From Your Employer

If your employer offers a 401(k) plan as part of its benefits package, then you should absolutely, definitely take full advantage of your employer’s matching contribution.

“Take advantage of your full company match,” says Jeff Dixson, a financial adviser in Vancouver, Washington, who hosts a radio show called “The Retirement Coach.” “If they match 3%, contribute 3%. If they match 6%, try to get to 6%. That’s free money. There’s nowhere else you’re going to get free money.”

If you’re already at the full company match, consider increasing your contributions even more. Trying raising it by at least 1%.

If your employer doesn’t have a 401(k) package, or if you’re self-employed, you should strongly consider stashing retirement savings in a tax-free IRA. Contribute to it routinely and automatically, if you can.

2. Let This App Give You Up to $500 in Free Stock

Once you’ve got your retirement account going, it’s a good idea to look into more ways to invest — like stocks. You really don’t need that much to get started, and you can even get free stocks (worth up to $500!) if you know where to look.

Whether you’re got $5, $100 or $800 to spare, you can start investing with Robinhood.

Yeah, you’ve probably heard of Robinhood. Both investing beginners and pros love it because it doesn’t charge commission fees, and you can buy and sell stocks for free — no limits. Plus, it’s super easy to use.

What’s best? When you download the app and fund your account (it takes no more than a few minutes), Robinhood drops a share of free stock into your account. It’s random, though, so that stock could be worth anywhere from $5 to $500 — a nice boost to help you build your investments.

3. Ask This Website to Pay Your Credit Card Bills This Month

It’s hard to build your retirement savings if you’re losing money to credit card debt. And your credit card company is just getting rich by ripping you off with high interest rates. But a website called AmOne wants to help.

If you owe your credit card companies $50,000 or less, AmOne will match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every single one of your balances.

The benefit? You’ll be left with one bill to pay each month. And because personal loans have lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 3.99% APR), you’ll get out of debt that much faster. Plus: No credit card payment this month.

AmOne won’t make you stand in line or call your bank, either. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could help you pay off your debt years faster — allowing you to focus your efforts on your retirement savings.

4. Give Your Savings a Boost With This Flexible Gig (It Pays up to $20/Hour)

It might feel like you’re not making enough money to save for retirement. That’s where picking up a flexible side gig can help. We like the flexibility work-from-home side gigs offer — like tutoring kids online.

Right now, Education First, an international tutoring program, is looking for tutors who’ll teach English online to kids ages 5 to 10. You can work from home, pick your schedule and make up to $20 an hour. Not bad, right?

You’ll need a bachelor’s degree to qualify and, if you’re hired, a 40-hour TEFL certificate. (You can take these courses online; we recommend finding one through Groupon to score a deal!)

You’ll also get plenty of opportunities to earn more money. For example, you’ll earn a surge bonus if you teach classes between 6 and 8 a.m. on weekdays or 9 and 10:30 p.m. on weekends. Plus, once you teach 200 classes, you’ll get a $100 bonus.

Applying online is simple; just fill out some basic information (it takes less than a minute) to start the process. You’ll then receive an email requesting a copy of your resume. The Education First crew will review it and get back to you with next steps.

Once you’ve got a second stream of income, you’ll start feeling more confident shoveling money toward your savings.

5. Buy a Piece of a Corporation for $5

Take a look at the Forbes Richest People list, and you’ll notice almost all the billionaires have one thing in common — they own another company.

But if you work for a living and just want to make sure you have enough to survive retirement, that can sound totally out of reach. 

That’s why we like the app Stash. It lets you be a part of something that’s normally exclusive to the richest of the rich — buying pieces of other companies. But Stash you can start with as little as a $5 investment.

You can buy pieces of well-known companies, like McDonald’s, Apple, Tesla* and more.
The best part? When these companies profit, so can you.

It takes two minutes to sign up, plus Stash will give you a $5 sign-up bonus. (You just doubled your money!) Stash offers subscription plans starting at $1.00 a month.** As a reminder, investing involves risk. 

You might not be in the next issue of Forbes, but this is a great way to get started. 

*The Penny Hoarder is a Paid Affiliate/partner of Stash. This material is not intended as investment advice and is not meant to suggest that any securities are suitable investments for any particular investor. Investment advice is only provided to Stash customers.

 **You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the ETFs in your account, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash.

6. Secure Up to $1 Million in Life Insurance; Rates Start at Just $5/Month

Have you thought about how your family would manage without your income after you’re gone? How they’ll pay the bills? Send the kids through school? Even if you don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars saved for retirement, now’s a good time to start planning for the future by securing a life insurance policy.

You’re probably thinking: I don’t have the time or money for that. But your application shouldn’t take more than about five minutes — and you could leave your family $1 million with a company called Bestow.

Rates start at just $5 a month, and you can change or cancel your plan at any time. Plus, the security of knowing your family is taken care of is priceless.

If you’re under the age of 54 and want to get a fast life insurance quote without a medical exam, pushy sales calls or even getting up from the couch, get a free quote from Bestow.

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He has money saved for retirement, but not enough.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.