Ok, so you got started. After reading my blogpost a month ago you were inspired to march into your HR department and sign up for your 401k. An important step for sure, but rather than forget about your contributions completely, here are several ideas to put more away without taking too much of a blow to your checking account.

1- Contribute percentages rather than dollars. When deciding how much to put away, figure out a dollar amount you can be comfortable with on a typical payday, and then calculate that percentage of your paycheck and deduct that. This way when you have a good size paycheck come through, your 401k will reap the reward as well as your checkbook.

2- Take advantage of pre-tax contributions. Remember that your 401k contributions get hidden before Uncle Sam can get his hands on his portion of your paycheck. Every dollar you contribute will generally only bring down your checking account by about 80 cents. Keep this in mind when reviewing how much you can afford to put away.

3- Use an IRA for additional contributions. Once in a while, we find ourselves with a little extra money in our checking account from a tax refund, a gift, or some other type of good fortune. Rather than scouring the internet trying to find a way to spend it, dump some of the extra cash into an IRA. It will help you next year at tax time, and if you do this consistently throughout your career it will provide you with a nice complement to your 401k in retirement.

4- Stop in and see us. If you have a question about your 401k contributions, don't hesitate to stop by or give us a call and ask. We can help you pick the right investments and give you guidance on whether you're on the right track. We can also help you set up an IRA to get your savings growing at an even faster pace.

Steve Hicks

(This article contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Brighton Securities Corp. The author's opinions are subject to change without notice. This blog post is for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities).