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Retirement Checklist for Your 30s

As your earning power increases, your 30s are a great time to further build your retirement savings foundation. Here are some realistic steps you can take now to help balance your long-term financial goals with your short-term needs.

1. Make saving for retirement a priority

  • Take advantage of time and the power of compounding to potentially grow your money

  • Make your qualified employer sponsored plans (QRPs) work for you

    • Consider contributing up to the maximum allowable amount in your QRP, such as a 401(k), 403(b), or governmental 457(b). This can help fund your retirement as well as reduce your taxable income.
    • If you are unable to contribute the maximum amount to your QRP and your employer offers a matching contribution program, try to contribute at least as much as the match — otherwise, you are leaving free money on the table.
  • Invest on your own as well as at work

    • Whether or not you contribute the maximum in a 401(k) or other QRP at work, you may want to also consider:
      • Investing money from each paycheck in a brokerage or savings account.
    • Wells Fargo offers a range of Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). An IRA can help supplement your other retirement savings and gain access to a potentially wider range of investment options. Or, if your employer doesn’t offer a QRP or you’re self-employed, consider opening an IRA. Certain choices carry investment risk, while others are FDIC-insured. Choose the right IRA that best suits your needs.
    • Set up a recurring transfer of the amount you’ve chosen to save in an IRA. You can do this online and once it’s set up you don’t have to think about it anymore.

2. Keep your retirement savings on target

  • Resist the urge to cut back on retirement saving to meet other expenses or accommodate other goals

    • Understand what you’re really spending each month. Wells Fargo’s My Spending Report helps you track what you spend, so you can find ways to save and budget dollars toward your retirement.
  • Review and adjust your saving and investing goals annually

  • Put part or all of any bonuses, tax refunds, or other lump-sum payments into your retirement savings

3. Prepare yourself for the unexpected

  • Consider setting aside three to six months’ expenses in a money market or similar account that can be accessed easily

  • Emergency savings are best placed in an interest-earning bank account, such as a money market or interest-earning savings account, that can be accessed easily without taxes or penalties

  • Before you borrow, carefully analyze the impact that major purchases may have on your cash flow

4. Learn more

  • In your 30s there are two main keys to retirement success: regular contributions and asset allocation which refers to diversifying your investment portfolio among different asset categories such as bonds, stocks, and cash

  • Explore different options such as creating your own investment portfolio and speaking to a Financial Advisor for help

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