What to Do With Your 403(b) Now to Set Yourself Up for Retirement Later

Planning for retirement is an essential aspect of life. One popular retirement saving strategy employed by many people is using a 403(b) plan. A 403(b) plan is a tax-sheltered annuity or a retirement plan that is available to employees of certain public schools, non-profit organizations, and churches. To make the most of your 403(b) now and ensure financial stability in the future, follow these crucial steps.

1. Start Contributing Early

The earlier you begin contributing to your 403(b), the better it is for your future financial security. This approach allows compound interest to work its magic and helps you accumulate savings faster over time.

2. Maximize Your Contributions

The IRS sets annual limits on the amount you can contribute to your 403(b). For 2021, the contribution limit is $19,500. If you’re aged 50 or above, there’s an additional catch-up contribution allowed, which is $6,500 for 2021. Try to contribute as much as possible within these limits to maximize your retirement savings.

3. Choose the Right Investment Options

Your 403(b) plan may offer different investment options such as mutual funds, annuities, and individual stocks. It’s essential to choose the right mix of investments based on your age, risk tolerance, and financial goals to ensure optimal growth of your savings.

4. Diversify Your Investments

Diversifying your investments across various asset classes like stocks, bonds, and stable-value funds can help minimize risk and optimize returns. Regularly monitor and adjust your portfolio to ensure it aligns with your investment objectives.

5. Keep an Eye on Fees

Many investors overlook fees associated with their retirement accounts, however they can eat into your returns over time. Review the fees associated with your plan and aim for low-cost options like index funds, whenever possible.

6. Monitor Your Investments Periodically

Keeping a close eye on your 403(b) investments will ensure that your portfolio remains aligned with your retirement goals. Review the performance of your investments periodically and make adjustments as needed to stay on track.

7. Consider a Roth 403(b) Option

A Roth 403(b) allows you to make after-tax contributions while providing tax-free distributions during retirement. If you anticipate being in a higher tax bracket at retirement, consider allocating some of your contributions to a Roth 403(b).

8. Avoid Early Withdrawals

Avoid withdrawing funds from your 403(b) before retirement age, as early withdrawals may be subjected to taxes and penalties. Instead, focus on saving for emergencies separately and preserving your retirement savings for the future.

9. Plan for Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)

Once you reach the age of 72, you are required to begin taking RMDs from your 403(b) account. Be aware of this requirement, plan accordingly, and consider working with a financial advisor to develop a withdrawal strategy for this stage in your life.

By implementing these strategies and staying proactive about managing your 403(b), you can set yourself up for a successful and fulfilling retirement.

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