For Mark Roberts’ Use: Some people view the new year as the perfect time to make changes to their habits. Others eschew resolutions, saying you can change your life any time you decide to do so. Technically, that is true, but with regard to retirement planning January 1 actually marks an important date on the calendar. It’s a new tax year, so making changes now can actually benefit you more over the course of the year.

If you get started now, you won’t have to play catch-up later in 2020. So, which resolutions are most important to make? The following two are important for almost anyone.

Reach your full employer match amount. Many employers offer matching contributions to your retirement plan, up to a certain amount (usually based upon a percentage). Even if you can’t make the maximum contribution for the year, you should at least strive to reach your full employer match amount.

Look at it this way: Whatever you contribute, up to the limit, is effectively doubled by your employer contribution. How do you feel about turning down free money for retirement?

Bump up your savings rate. Most employees make automatic contributions to their retirement plans, via payroll deductions. This amount is often based upon a percentage of your pay.

In the years since you first established your payroll deductions, you have probably received one or more raises. It’s time to visit your human resources office and bump up your savings rate a bit, even if you can only increase it by one percent.

Remember, these contributions are deducted before taxes, so it won’t actually be that difficult to adjust to the difference in your paychecks.

If you can make these two changes in January, 2020 can prove to be a productive year for your retirement plan. You might also be considering additional New Year’s resolutions, and we’d be happy to discuss them at your next appointment. Give us a call and let’s set up a time to talk, so we can help you incorporate your new goals into your long-term financial plan.