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Bottom Line Up Front

  • Make the most of tax-advantaged savings to boost retirement funds.
  • Increasing your savings rate by 1 percentage point every year can help you reach your goals.
  • When you reach age 50, use catch-up contribution limits for tax-advantaged retirement plans.

Time to Read

4 minutes

June 7, 2022

If you’re already saving for retirement, congratulations. You’re further along toward ensuring your future financial security than you might think! Your future self will thank you. If you’re like many people, you may have lingering questions, too, like “Am I saving enough?” and “How can I tell?”

7 Ways to Build Your Retirement Savings

If you suspect your savings could use a boost, these tips can help.

Use tax-advantaged retirement savings accounts. 

Many retirement accounts offer special tax advantages that can help you grow your money. For example, investing in a traditional 401(k) allows you to allot a pre-tax portion of each paycheck toward your total savings.

Aim to contribute at least 15% of your income.

If that amount doesn’t fit into your budget, contribute as much as you can to your retirement plan. If you have an employer plan and your employer matches a portion of your contributions, be sure to contribute enough to earn the full match.

Increase the amount you save over time. 

Consider increasing your savings percentage every year or every time your income goes up. Also, consider ways you can trim your budget to save more. Increasing your savings rate by 1% every year can help you reach your goals.

Set smaller interim goals.

Most people will need at least 10 times their final salary by age 67 to maintain their current lifestyle in retirement (for example, a final salary of $50,000 would require $500,000 in savings). Use the chart below as a benchmark for savings; the salary you’re earning at each age could serve as your savings goal.

Savings Based on Salary
301X your salary
403X your salary
506X your salary
608X your salary
6710X your salary 

Source: Fidelity Viewpoints 

Maintain a well-balanced portfolio. 

Holding a mix of asset classes—such as stocks, bonds and cash equivalents—can help you manage investment risk while pursuing attractive returns. The percentage of your total investments that you devote to each asset class is your target asset allocation.

Rebalance regularly.

As one asset class outperforms the others, your holdings will stray from their original targets. For example, maybe you set a target of having stocks represent 70% of the value of your portfolio, but if stocks have a good year, you might increase that to 80%. Rebalancing involves buying and/or selling to restore each asset class to its original target. You’ll probably want your targets to become more conservative as you approach retirement.

Finish strong.

When you reach age 50, take advantage of catch-up contribution limits for tax-advantaged retirement plans. In 2021, you could contribute an extra $1,000 to traditional or Roth IRAs and an extra $6,500 to a Thrift Savings Plan or 401(k), 403(b), or 457 plan.

Make a Plan to Save

Navy Federal Investment Services can help you continue to build your retirement savings. Connect with a financial advisor to start planning for your future. 

Next Steps Next Steps

  1. Check your current retirement savings balance to confirm you’re on track. You can use the benchmarks 1X salary by age 35; 3X salary by age 45; and 5X salary by age 55 as a guide.
  2. Ramp up your contributions if you determine you’re behind. Are you maxing out your employer contributions to your 401(k) or TSP?
  3. Speak with a financial advisor to explore other ways to increasing your savings.


Navy Federal Financial Group, LLC (NFFG) is a licensed insurance agency. Non-deposit investments, brokerage, and advisory products are only sold through Navy Federal Investment Services, LLC (NFIS), a member of FINRA/SIPC and an SEC registered investment advisory firm. NFIS is a wholly owned subsidiary of NFFG. Insurance products are offered through NFFG and NFIS. These products are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guaranteed or obligations of Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU), are not offered, recommended, sanctioned, or encouraged by the federal government, and may involve investment risk, including possible loss of principal. Deposit products and related services are provided by NFCU. Financial Advisors are employees of NFFG and are employees and registered representatives of NFIS. NFIS and NFFG are affiliated companies under the common control of NFCU. Call 1-877-221-8108 for further information.

This content is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.