Have Less Than $25K in Your Retirement Account? Make These 6 Moves

A mother picks up her son in her arms as she picks him up from school.
Getty Images
Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We provide you with accurate, reliable information. Learn more about how we make money and select our advertising partners.

Do you have less than $25,000 in your retirement account right now?

You’re far from alone, my friend. The fact is, 40% of Americans have less than $25,000 saved for retirement, according to a Northwestern Mutual study. That’s scary.

But, hey, we’re not here to lecture you or instill fear in you. We’re here to cheer you on and show you how to get back on track.

We’ve got six ways to boost your balance and sock away more savings for your golden years. Bonus: You can start doing most of these things today!

1. Get Every Penny From Your Employer

If your employer offers a 401(k) plan as part of its benefits package, then you should absolutely, definitely take full advantage of your employer’s matching contribution.

“Take advantage of your full company match,” says Jeff Dixson, a financial adviser in Vancouver, Washington, who hosts a radio show called “The Retirement Coach.” “If they match 3%, contribute 3%. If they match 6%, try to get to 6%. That’s free money. There’s nowhere else you’re going to get free money.”

If you’re already at the full company match, consider increasing your contributions even more. Trying raising it by at least 1%.

If your employer doesn’t have a 401(k) package, or if you’re self-employed, you should strongly consider stashing retirement savings in a tax-free IRA. Contribute to it routinely and automatically, if you can.

2. Leave Your Family up to $1 Million in Life Insurance 

Have you thought about how your family would manage without your income after you’re gone? How they’ll pay the bills? Send the kids through school? Even if you don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars saved for retirement, now’s a good time to start planning for the future by securing a life insurance policy.

You’re probably thinking: I don’t have the time or money for that. But your application shouldn’t take more than about five minutes —and you could leave your family up to $1 million in life insurance with PolicyGenius. It’s cheap t0o — rates start at 83 cents a day.

You can change or cancel your plan at any time. Plus, the security of knowing your family is taken care of is priceless.

So, want to leave your family $1 million? It takes two minutes to get a free quote.

3. Get Rid of Your Homeowner’s Insurance

A photo of a yellow apartment building.
Getty Images

For many homeowners, your insurance might not be something you actively worry about — you just know you’ve got to pay it. 

But, the truth is, you’re probably overpaying and that extra money would be better off in your retirement account.

We get it. Buying homeowners insurance was enough of a hassle the first time around. You’re not exactly champing at the bit to do all that again, but it’s easier than you think.

To find out how much you’re overpaying, check with an insurance company called Lemonade. If its free quote shows you a better deal, Lemonade could switch you over in just 10 minutes. Policies start at $25 a month.

Even better? No phone calls. No lengthy sign-up process. Nothing. 

And just because you’re saving money doesn’t mean you’re skimping on coverage. In fact, Lemonade pays out 30% of its claims instantly.

Just answer a few questions about your home to get started.

Lemonade is available in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Wisconsin.

4. Ask This Website to Pay Your Credit Card Bills This Month

It’s hard to build your retirement savings if you’re losing money to credit card debt. And your credit card company is just getting rich by ripping you off with high interest rates. But a website called AmOne wants to help.

If you owe your credit card companies $50,000 or less, AmOne will match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every single one of your balances.

The benefit? You’ll be left with one bill to pay each month. And because personal loans have lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 3.99% APR), you’ll get out of debt that much faster. Plus: No credit card payment this month.

AmOne won’t make you stand in line or call your bank, either. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could help you pay off your debt years faster — allowing you to focus your efforts on your retirement savings.

5. See if You Can Get Extra Money From This Company

Here’s the deal: If you’re not using Aspiration’s debit card, you’re missing out on extra money. And who doesn’t want free money? 

Yep. Aspiration gives you up to a 5% cash back every time you swipe.

Need to buy groceries? Extra Cash.

Need to fill up the tank? Bam. Extra cash.

You were going to buy these things anyway — why not get extra money in the process and put it towards your retirement?

It takes just five minutes to sign up for a new debit card and see how much extra money you could earn with the Aspiration Spend and Save account.

6. Invest Like a Tycoon (Even If You’re Not Rich)

Maybe you’ve thought about investing your extra cash, but you’re not sure where to start. We found a company that helps you become a real estate investor — and you don’t have to be a millionaire.

You can get started with a minimum investment of just $500. Through the Fundrise Starter Portfolio, your money will be invested in portfolios of real estate around the United States.

You can see exactly which properties are included in your portfolios — like a set of townhomes in Snoqualmie, Washington, or an apartment building in Charlotte, North Carolina.

And you don’t have to be the landlord — Fundrise does all the heavy lifting.

As tenants pay their rent, you can earn money through quarterly dividend payments and potential appreciation of the property.

It’s a great way to get started in the world of investing now that you’ve built up a bit of savings.

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He has money saved for retirement, but not enough.