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Increasing your contributions regularly can help build your retirement account

One of the advantages of participating in a retirement plan where your contributions are automatically deducted from your paycheck is the “out of sight, out of mind” principle. But that convenience can also make it easy for you to forget about reviewing your account and making adjustments to future contribution amounts. One way to make sure you are staying on top of your retirement preparation is to mark your calendar to do an annual review. You can always check your account more frequently, if you’d like.

Increase your contributions

Even with all the financial obligations you may have going on in your life, there may be things you can do to make even just a small increase of 1-2% of your income each year. Here are two ideas you might consider for increasing your contributions.

  • Do away with debt and save

    The money you are paying each month to personal debt is money that you could be redirecting to your retirement plan. This debt could take the form of credit cards, student loans or personal loans, all of which can inhibit your ability to move toward a healthy financial future. Regardless of the amount of debt you have, it is important to put money toward both your debt and savings. Putting off savings until you are debt-free can prevent you from using one of your greatest assets: time.


    Small contributions over a long period (especially with compounding) can have a significant impact on your retirement goals, versus starting later and saving more. Compounding typically refers to the increasing value of an asset due to the interest earned on both the principal and accumulated interest.

Simple steps to spend less

Track how much you spend for a month, and then look for ways to reduce your spending and direct those dollars toward investing in your retirement account instead. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Cut back on your grocery bill by using coupons, buying in bulk or opting for store brands over brand names.

  • Can you cut the cord on cable, scale back on a pricey cell phone plan or part ways with a subscription or app?

The impact of making small changes

If you make $40,000 per year and increase your retirement plan contribution from 4% to 6%, you could see a $145,283 increase to your account over 40 years.


Deferral percentage comparison

 4% deferral6% deferral
10 years$25,851$38,776
20 years$71,584$107,375
30 years$156,129$234,193
40 years$290,567$435,850

Note: This example assumes a 1% annual salary increase and a consistent 6% rate of return. All numeric examples and any individuals shown are hypothetical and were used for explanatory purposes only. Actual results may vary.


Remember, it’s the little things you do now that will have a big impact in your retirement years. Review your accounts regularly, be patient, increase your contributions whenever possible and be consistent.

OneAmerica Financial is the marketing name for the companies of OneAmerica Financial. The views and opinions expressed by Peter Dunn (aka Pete the Planner) are solely his and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the companies of OneAmerica. Pete the Planner's content is for overview and informational purposes only and is not intended as tax, legal, fiduciary, or investment advice. Pete the Planner is not an affiliate of any OneAmerica Financial company.