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How Much Do I Need to Contribute Now?

Deciding how much to contribute to your employer-sponsored retirement Plan will have a significant impact on how much you accumulate in your account over time. As the table below illustrates, different contribution amounts can have a dramatic effect on how much you could potentially have in your account by the time you retire.

The most important thing is to start saving right away, because even waiting one year can make a big difference in the amount you could potentially have in your account when you retire.


Age 65
Age 65
Cost of
One Year

FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY. This hypothetical illustration shows how the number of years invested in the Plan could affect participant account values. It is not intended to depict the performance of any particular security or investment. It assumes monthly contributions of $100, an annual 6% rate of return, retirement at age 65, and no withdrawals. Savings totals do not reflect any fees/expenses associated with your Plan. The accumulations shown above would be reduced if these fees had been deducted. Income taxes are due upon withdrawal. Rate of return may vary.

When you ask yourself how much you should save, the quick and easy answer is, "as much as you can." The following quick tips show you that it may be more affordable than you think.

  • Before-tax paycheck contributions mean that your take-home pay may not be affected as much as you think.
  • Before-tax savings have the potential to lower your current taxable income, and that means you may pay less income tax each year you make before-tax paycheck contributions.
  • Save as much as you can as soon as you can because the earlier you begin, the longer you'll have to benefit from potential tax-deferred growth and earnings.
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