Give your 401 (k) a 2021 checkup in 5 easy steps

Contributing to 401 (k) are often op topilot investments, which can be a good thing. You’re practicing average dollar lor-costs, which means you invest regularly whether stocks are up or down. Because you get 401 (k) funding through payroll deductions, you probably won’t miss out on the investment you make.

But you don’t want to go into full hands-on mode with your 401 (k) plan. Double checking will ensure that you choose the best investment options and that you are on track to meet your retirement goals. Here’s how to give your 401 (k) a quick check in 2021.

A notebook on the table with the word

Image Source: Getty Images.

1. Check the beneficiary

Even if you have a will, it is important to check that the beneficiary you have designated for your retirement accounts is the person who should receive the money when you die. Beneficial designation superseed wills. This means that if the beneficiary listed on your 401 (k) is someone you divorced a decade ago and your wish says that your new spouse gets all your property, your ex-wife will get your 401 (k) Will get money.

The New Year is a good time to review your beneficiaries, this information needs to be updated when you experience a major life event like marriage, divorce or the birth of a child.

2. Estimate your retirement goals

It’s hard to predict your retirement needs, especially if you’re in your 20s or 30s. But financial planners generally recommend approximately 80% of pre-retirement income. Even if your golden years are decades away, estimate whether you are on track to reach your goals using a retirement calculator at least once a year. As you approach retirement, it will be easier to plug in a more specific number because you have a better understanding of how long you want to work and when you plan to claim Social Security.

3. Plan to catch up

If you fall short, the sooner you can start saving more, the easier it will be to catch up. Make sure you’re getting your full company 401 (k) match. Other than that, look for ways to save more, even if you can only invest 1% or 2% more of your salary. If your 401 (k) plan investment options are limited, you can only contribute as much as you need to get your perfect match and then invest the rest using a personal retirement account (IRA).

In 2021, you are allowed to contribute:

  • Up to ,500 19,500 for your 401 (k), plus an additional $ 6,500 if you’re 50 or older
  • Up to $ 6,000 for your IRA, plus an additional $ 1,000 if you’re 50 or older.

4. Review your risk tolerance and asset allocation

You never want to make a drastic change in your risk tolerance in response to short-term stock market fluctuations. But once a year it’s a good idea to review how much risk you’re taking with your 401 (k). If you’re scared of a stock market crash or close to retirement, you’ll want to move some of your holdings from stocks to bonds, even if it means low returns. Or if you are worried that your money will not grow fast, you will move more into stocks, even if you take more risks.

Rule 110 can give you a good idea of ​​what your allotment should be: Subtract your age from 110 to get your proper stock allotment. So the 30-year-old is aiming for 80% shares and 20% bonds, while the 50-year-old will seek 60% shares and 40% bonds.

5. Make sure your fees are low

Review your 401 (k) fees each year to make sure the investment costs are not bearing on your return. Many plans offer target date funding that is automatically rebalanced based on your age and planned retirement date. Convenient, yes, but the average cost ratio is 0.51%, which means a 10,000 51 investment leads to a $ 51 fee.

Many plans also offer passive managed index funding with a cost ratio of 0.1% or less. That may not seem like much of a difference, but if you invest $ 5,000 per year and get a 6% annual return, your spending ratio will be reduced from 0.51% to 0.1%, giving you an additional 30,000 extra at the end of 30 years. Will be found.