What Is a Money Purchase Pension Plan (MPPP)? How Is It Different From a 401k?

What Is a Money Purchase Pension Plan (MPPP)? How Is It Different From a 401(k)?

A money purchase pension plan or MPPP is an employer-sponsored retirement plan that requires employers to contribute money on behalf of employees each year. The plan itself defines the amount the employer must contribute. Employees may also have the option to make contributions from their pay.

Money purchase pension plans have some similarities to more commonly used retirement plans such as 401(k)s, pension plans, and corporate profit sharing plans. If you have access to a MPPP plan at work, it’s important to understand how it works and where it might fit into your overall retirement strategy.

What Is a Money Purchase Pension Plan?

Money purchase pension plans are a type of defined contribution plan. That means they don’t guarantee a set benefit amount at retirement. Instead, these retirement plans allow employers and/or employees to contribute money up to annual contribution limits.

Like other retirement accounts, participants can make withdrawals when they reach their retirement age. In the meantime, the account value can increase or decrease based on investment gains or losses.

Money purchase pension plans require the employer to make predetermined fixed contributions to the plan on behalf of all eligible employees. The company must make these contributions on an annual basis as long as the plan is maintained.

Contributions to a money purchase plan grow on a tax-deferred basis. Employees do not have to make contributions to the plan, but they may be allowed to do so, depending on the plan. The IRS does allow for loans from money purchase plans but it does not permit in-service withdrawals.


💡 Quick Tip: Before opening an investment account, know your investment objectives, time horizon, and risk tolerance. These fundamentals will help keep your strategy on track and with the aim of meeting your goals.

What Are the Money Purchase Pension Plan Contribution Limits?

Each money purchase plan determines what its own contribution limits are, though the amount can’t exceed maximum limits set by the IRS. For example, an employer’s plan may specify that they must contribute 5% or 10% of each employee’s pay into that employee’s MPPP plan account.

Annual money purchase plan contribution limits are similar to SEP IRA contribution limits. For 2023, the maximum contribution allowed is the lesser of:

•   25% of the employee’s compensation, OR

•   $66,000

The IRS routinely adjusts the contribution limits for money purchase pension plans and other qualified retirement accounts based on inflation. The amount of money an employee will have in their money purchase plan upon retirement depends on the amount that their employer contributed on their behalf, the amount the employee contributed, and how their investments performed during their working years. Your account balance may be one factor in determining when you can retire.

Rules for money purchase plan distributions are the same as other qualified plans, in that you can begin withdrawing money penalty-free starting at age 59 ½. If you take out money before that, you may owe an early withdrawal penalty.

Like a pension plan, money purchase pension plans must offer the option to receive distributions as a lifetime annuity. Money purchase plans can also offer other distribution options, including a lump sum. Participants do not pay taxes on their accounts until they begin making withdrawals.

The Pros and Cons of Money Purchase Pension Plans

Money purchase pension plans have some benefits, but there are also some drawbacks that participants should keep in mind.

Pros of Money Purchase Plans

Here are some of the advantages for employees and employers who have a money purchase plan.

•   Tax benefits. For employers, contributions made on behalf of their workers are tax deductible. Contributions grow tax-free for employees, allowing them to put off taxes on investment growth until they begin withdrawing the money.

•   Loan access. Employees may be able to take loans against their account balances if the plan permits it.

•   Potential for large balances. Given the relatively high contribution limits, employees may be able to accumulate account balances higher than they would with a 401(k) retirement plan, depending on their pay and the percentage their employer contributes on their behalf.

•   Reliable income in retirement. When employees retire and begin drawing down their account, the regular monthly payments through a lifetime annuity can help with budgeting and planning.

Disadvantages of Money Purchase Pension Plan

Most of the disadvantages associated with money purchase pension plans impact employers rather than employees.

•   Expensive to maintain. The administrative and overhead costs of maintaining a money purchase plan can be higher than those associated with other types of defined contribution plans.

•   Heavy financial burden. Since contributions in a money purchase plan are required (unlike the optional employer contributions to a 401(k)), a company could run into issues in years when cash flow is lower.

•   Employees may not be able to contribute. Depending on the terms of a plan, employees may not be able to make contributions to the plan. However, if the employer offers both a money purchase plan and a 401(k), employees could still defer part of their salary for retirement.



💡 Quick Tip: Want to lower your taxable income? Start saving for retirement with a traditional IRA. The money you save each year is tax deductible (and you don’t owe any taxes until you withdraw the funds, usually in retirement).

Money Purchase Pension Plan vs 401(k)

The main differences between a pension vs 401(k) have to do with their funding and the way the distributions work. In a money purchase plan, the employer provides the funding with optional employee contribution.

With a 401(k), employees fund accounts with elective salary deferrals and option employer contributions. For both types of plans, the employer may implement a vesting schedule that determines when the employee can keep all of the employer’s contributions if they leave the company. Employee contributions always vest immediately.

The total annual contribution limits (including both employer and employee contributions) for these defined contribution plans are the same, at $66,000 for 2023. But 401(k) plans allow for catch-up contributions made by employees aged 50 or older. For 2023, the total employee contribution limit is $22,500 with an extra catch-up contribution of $7,500.

Both plans may or may not allow for loans, and it’s possible to roll amounts held in a money purchase pension plan or a 401(k) over into a new qualified plan or an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) if you change jobs or retire.

Recommended: IRA vs 401(k)–What’s the Difference?

Employees may also be able to take hardship withdrawals from a 401(k) if they meet certain conditions, but the IRS does not allow hardship withdrawals from a money purchase pension plan.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of a MPPP and a 401(k):

MPPP Plan

401(k) Plan

Funded by Employer contributions, with employee contributions optional Employee salary deferrals, with employer matching contributions optional
Tax status Contributions are tax-deductible for employers, growth is tax-deferred for employees Contributions are tax-deductible for employers and employees, growth is tax-deferred for employees
Contribution limits (2023) Lesser of 25% of employee’s pay or $66,000 $22,500, with catch-up contributions of $7,500 for employees 50 or older
Catch-up contributions allowed No Yes, for employers 50 and older
Loans permitted Yes, if the plan allows Yes, if the plan allows
Hardship withdrawals No Yes, if the plan allows
Vesting Determined by the employer Determined by the employer

The Takeaway

Money purchase pension plans are a valuable tool for employees to reach their retirement goals. They’re similar to 401(k)s, but there are some important differences.

Whether you save for retirement in a money purchase pension plan, a 401(k), or another type of account the most important thing is to get started. The sooner you begin saving for retirement, the more time your money will have to grow through the power of compounding returns.

Ready to invest for your retirement? It’s easy to get started when you open a traditional or Roth IRA with SoFi. SoFi doesn’t charge commissions, but other fees apply (full fee disclosure here).


Easily manage your retirement savings with a SoFi IRA.

FAQ

Here are answers to some additional questions you may have about money pension purchase plans.

What is a pension money purchase scheme?

A money purchase pension plan or money purchase plan is a defined contribution plan that allows employers to save money on behalf of their employees. These plans are similar to profit-sharing plans ,and companies may offer them alongside a 401(k) plan as part of an employee’s retirement benefits package.

Can I cash in my money purchase pension?

You can cash in a money purchase pension at retirement in place of receiving lifetime annuity payments. Otherwise, early withdrawals from a money purchase pension plan are typically not permitted, and if you do take money early, taxes and penalties may apply.

Is final salary pension for life?

A final salary pension is a defined benefit plan. Unlike a defined contribution plan, defined benefit plans pay out a set amount of money at retirement, typically based on your earnings and number of years of service. Final salary pensions can be paid as a lump sum or as a lifetime annuity, meaning you get paid for the remainder of your life.

Photo credit: iStock/ferrantraite


Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

SoFi Invest®
SoFi Invest refers to the two investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA(www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, please visit SoFi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or pre-qualification for any loan product offered by SoFi Bank, N.A.

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Guide to the Average Savings in America by Age

How much does the average American have in savings? Age tends to have a lot to do with it. Generally, as people get older, they are likely to have more savings.

But what the average person has in a savings account also depends on their financial goals and personal circumstances.

If you’re looking for a benchmark of just how much you should save by a specific age, or how much you should start contributing right now, read on for average savings by age and some tips that could help.

The Importance of Saving for the Future

Life can happen fast. For example, the average cost of having a new baby can run parents approximately $3,000 in out-of-pocket expenses for pregnancy and delivery. And then there’s the cost of caring for a child, which some estimates put at more than $18,000 for raising them through age 17.

And, if that baby wants to get a college degree, you’re looking at a whole new realm of savings. The cost of a college education can range from about $44,000 to well past $150,000.

There’s one other big reason to save for the future: People are living longer. According to a 2023 survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, only 18% of American workers are “very confident they will be able to retire comfortably.” Four in 10 workers say their lack of confidence is because they have little to no savings.


💡 Quick Tip: Did you know that opening a brokerage account typically doesn’t come with any setup costs? Often, the only requirement to open a brokerage account — aside from providing personal details — is making an initial deposit.

A Savings Shortfall

More than half of Americans can’t cover an unexpected $1,000 expense, according to Bankrate’s 2023 emergency savings report. Only 43% say they could cover it.

And 37% of all Americans don’t have enough cash in savings to cover even a $400 emergency, the Federal Reserve found in its “Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2022” report.

Average Savings by Age in the USA

The Fed’s latest Survey of Consumer Finances shows that the typical American household has $5,300 in a savings account at a bank or credit union. But this number varies greatly by age and number of people in a household. Here’s what savings by age looks like.

Average Savings for Those 35 and Younger

Americans under the age of 35 had an average savings account balance of $11,200, according to the Fed’s survey.

This is a large age bracket that can range from those just graduating high school to recent college grads to young professionals well into a decade’s worth of work.

It’s wise to have three to six months of expenses in an emergency fund. At the very least, aiming to have $1,000 handy in a savings account for unexpected expenses is recommended.

For those who have started their careers, employer-sponsored retirement funds such as an IRA or a 401(k) can be good options to start saving for long-term retirement goals.

It makes sense to contribute at least enough to get matching funds from an employer, if that’s an option with your company’s plan. For reference, the average 401(k) savings for someone between the ages of 20 and 29 in the Fed’s survey was $10,500.

Recommended: Why You Should Start Retirement Planning in Your 20s

Average Savings by Age: 35 to 44

Americans between the ages of 35 and 44 had an average savings account balance of $27,900, according to the Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances. Those in this age bracket are now well into adulthood. At this stage of life, it’s prudent to have that three-to six-months’ worth of savings in an emergency fund, to cover the cost of everything from an accident to a lost job.

This may also be the time to think about diversifying a financial portfolio and possibly investing in the stock or bond market.

And, of course, keep contributing to your 401(k). For reference, the average 401(k) savings for someone between the ages of 30 and 39 was $38,400.

Average Savings by Age: 45 to 54

People between the ages of 45 and 54 had an average savings account balance of $48,200, according to the Fed’s survey.

At this point, general financial advice dictates that a 50-year-old should have at least six times their annual salary if their intention is to retire at 67.

And by the age of 40 to 49, a person may want to have the average amount of retirement savings, which sits at $93,400.

In your 40s

Average Savings by Age: 55 to 64

The Fed survey found that Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 had an average savings account balance of $57,800.

Since this is the time when most Americans are staring down retirement in a few years, it’s generally a good idea to boost retirement savings into high gear.

That’s because while younger people in 2023 are capped at contributing $22,500 a year to a 401(k) account, those over the age of 50 are allowed to contribute an additional $7,500.This is known as a catch-up contribution.

The average retirement savings account for a person between the ages of 50 and 59 is $160,000. It’s important to note that taking a withdrawal from such a plan before the age of 59 ½ could mean tax penalties.

In your 50s

Average Savings by Age: 65 and Older

This is when savings really peaks for the average American. The latest Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances found that Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 had an average savings account balance of $60,400.

However, that savings number does drop over time. According to the survey, Americans above the age of 75 had an average savings account balance of $55,600.

This underscores the importance of creating a retirement budget and sticking to it in order to have enough savings for as long as needed.

But before retirement, try to hit the average retirement savings amount for those ages 60 to 69, which was $182,100.

This chart offers an at-a-glance comparison of the average American savings by age.

Age

Average savings

Under 35 $11,200
35-44 $27,900
45-54 $48,200
55-64 $57,800
65+ $60,400

💡 Quick Tip: How to manage potential risk factors in a self-directed investment account? Doing your research and employing strategies like dollar-cost averaging and diversification may help mitigate financial risk when trading stocks.

Median Savings by Age

Median savings is different from average savings. The median is the number in the middle of all the other numbers, meaning half the numbers are higher and half are lower. So with median savings, half the people in an age category will have saved more and half will have saved less.

These are the median savings by age, according to the latest Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances:

•   Under 35: $3,240

•   35-44: $4,710

•   45-54: $5,620

•   55-64: $6,400

Savings vs Retirement Savings

What Americans have saved for emergencies, expenses, and other near-future goals is different from what they have in their retirement savings accounts, as you can see from all the information above. And it’s critical to have both types of savings at the same time.

And keep this in mind: As you get older, and closer to retirement, it’s important that your retirement savings grow even more. It’s a good idea to contribute the maximum amount allowed to your retirement accounts at this time, if you can. This is one of the ways to save for retirement.

Recommended: Average Retirement Savings By State

Saving a Little Bit More

Reaching specific savings goals doesn’t have to be complicated. It just means doing a bit of homework, strategizing, and staying diligent about personal finances.

The first step in saving more is to analyze current expenses to see what can be cut back on or cut out altogether to make more room for saving. This means creating a monthly personal budget and tracking current personal spending.

To track spending, a person could create an excel spreadsheet and list all expenditures by categories like groceries, phone bill, car expenses, housing, medical, entertainment and others over the course of a month, filling it in with every single dollar spent to see where the money is going. Or you can use an online tracker like SoFi, which allows users to connect all their accounts to one dashboard and track spending habits in real time.

After the month is up, the next step is to look back on the expenditures list. Was there anything that surprised you? Do you need all those streaming subscriptions? How about that gym membership — did it actually get used? This is the time to get a little ruthless.

After figuring out what’s left, try implementing a general financial outline like the 50/30/20 rule. This means that approximately 50% of your after-tax income goes toward essential expenses like food and rent, while 30% goes toward discretionary expenses like nights out at the movies or concerts. The last 20% belongs to savings and retirement account goals.

Next, it’s time to get creative about saving even more for the future. This can be done by putting more cash into a savings or retirement account via direct deposit right from a paycheck.

Those looking to save a few more bucks every month could also do so by getting rid of unnecessary expenses. But, instead of pocketing that cash, consider using mobile deposit to direct that cash right to savings.

Still feeling the pinch and don’t really have room to save more from a budget? Working part-time for, say, a ride-sharing company could allow you to set your own hours and earn extra income based on how much time you can dedicate to it. Other options might include freelance work in photography, writing, or other creative arts.

Saving and Investing With SoFi

Along with all these savings strategies to help put away extra money, investing for your future goals is also important to help your money grow.

For instance, you may want to consider setting up an investment account. Investing a little now could go a long way in saving for tomorrow, next year, and your life after retirement.

Ready to invest in your goals? It’s easy to get started when you open an investment account with SoFi Invest. You can invest in stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and more. SoFi doesn’t charge commissions, but other fees apply (full fee disclosure here).


Invest with as little as $5 with a SoFi Active Investing account.

FAQ

How much should a 30 year old have in savings?

By age 30, you should have the equivalent of your annual salary saved. So if you make $60,000 a year, you should have $60,000 in savings.

How much money does an average person have in savings?

The average American has $65,100 in savings, according to a 2023 study by Northwestern Mutual.

How many Americans have $100,000 in savings?

According to one 2023 survey, only 14% of Americans have at least $100,000 in savings.


Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

SoFi Invest®
SoFi Invest refers to the two investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA(www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, please visit SoFi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or pre-qualification for any loan product offered by SoFi Bank, N.A.

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How to Save for Retirement at 30

How to Save for Retirement at 30

One of the most important things you can do in your 30s is to start prioritizing retirement savings if you haven’t done so already.

Building retirement savings at 30 is not always an easy task, even if you’re earning a higher salary. Financial responsibilities often increase at this time, but it’s important to keep retirement in mind even as you hit other milestones such as buying a house or starting a family.

To save for retirement in your 30s, you’ll need to balance your daily spending with your long-term goals. The sooner you can begin saving for retirement the better.

Boost your retirement contributions with a 1% match.

SoFi IRAs now get a 1% match on every dollar you deposit, up to the annual contribution limits. Open an account today and get started.


Only offers made via ACH are eligible for the match. ACATs, wires, and rollovers are not included. Offer ends 12/31/23.

How to Start Saving for Retirement at 30

You can set yourself on a path to healthy retirement savings by using the following strategies. First up, putting money into a designated retirement plan.

1. Contribute to a 401(k)

Saving in tax-advantaged retirement accounts available through work, such as a 401(k), is one of the best things you can do to start saving for retirement. Your 401(k) allows you to contribute up to $22,500 a year in 2023, up from $20,500 per year in 2022. Contributions come directly from your paycheck with pre-tax dollars, which lowers your taxable income in the year you make them.

Regular, automatic contributions, coupled with the benefits of compounding returns, can help your savings grow even faster. Starting a 401(k) at 30 gives you several decades for your funds to grow over time.

Also, 401(k)s allow employers to contribute to your retirement, and many will offer matching funds as part of your compensation package. Aim to save at least as much as is required to receive your employer’s match. Work toward maxing out your 401(k) contributions, especially as your salary grows over time.

You can access the funds penalty-free once you reach age 59 ½, but you will owe taxes on the money at that time.


💡 Quick Tip: Before opening an investment account, know your investment objectives, time horizon, and risk tolerance. These fundamentals will help keep your strategy on track and with the aim of meeting your goals.

2. Open an IRA

An IRA is a retirement account, which anyone with earned income can open. If you don’t have a 401(k) at work, opening an IRA can give you access to a tax-advantaged account to save for retirement. Even if you already have a 401(k), opening an IRA can be a good way to save even more, though you won’t get to write off your contributions.

For 2023, contribution limits to IRAs are $6,500 per year, up for $6,000 in 2022.

IRAs come in two different types: traditional and Roth IRAs. If you don’t have a 401(k), you can make contributions to traditional IRAs with pre-tax dollars. Like a 401(k), money in these accounts grows tax-deferred, and you’ll pay the taxes on it when you make withdrawals in retirement.

If you meet certain income restrictions, you may be able to contribute to a Roth IRA instead. In that case, you’ll make the contributions with after-tax dollars, but your money will grow tax-free inside the account and you do not have to pay taxes when you make withdrawals.

Recommended: Traditional vs. Roth IRA: How to Choose the Right Plan

3. Plan Your Asset Allocation

Diversification is the act of spreading your money across different asset classes. To minimize risk from a decline from one type of asset, it typically makes sense to create a diversified portfolio, including a mix of asset classes, such as stocks, bonds and other assets.

Your asset allocation refers to the proportion of each asset class that you hold. Your asset allocations will reflect your goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon. Given the relatively long period until your retirement, you might consider a relatively aggressive portfolio consisting mostly of stocks in your retirement account.

Stocks typically provide the most potential for growth, but they also fluctuate more than some other asset classes. Since you have three decades or more before you retire, you have time to ride out the natural ups and downs of the market.

Bonds, which tend to be less volatile than stocks but also offer lower returns, may balance out the riskier equity allocation. As you approach retirement, you may consider rebalancing your asset allocation to include more conservative investments to help protect the income you will need to draw upon soon.

Target-date funds are a type of mutual fund that automatically readjusts your portfolio as you near your target date, often the year in which you wish to retire.

4. Diversify within Asset Classes

Just as a portfolio with different types of assets offers some downside protection, so too, does diversification within those asset classes. If you invest the entire stock portion of your portfolio shares in just one company and share prices in that company drop, the value of your entire portfolio drops as well.

Now imagine that you own shares in 500 different companies. When one stock fares poorly, it will have a relatively small effect on the rest of your portfolio. Diversification helps limit the negative effects that any asset class, sector, or company could have on your portfolio.

You can further diversify your portfolio by including companies from different sectors and of all sizes from different parts of the globe. This same idea is true for other asset classes. For example, you could hold a mix of government and corporate bonds, and the corporate bonds could represent companies from various sectors and locations.

One way to add diversification to your portfolio is by investing in mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and index funds that invest in a diversified basket of stocks. For example, if you buy shares in an ETF that tracks the S&P 500 index, you’ll be investing in the 500 stocks included in that index.

5. Don’t Cash Out your 401(k) if You Get a New Job

If you’re only in your 30s, it’s likely that you’ll change jobs a couple of times or more, over the course of your career. When you change jobs, you’ll have a number of options for what to do with the 401(k) you hold with your previous employer.

One of these options is to cash out your 401(k). But this is typically not a great idea from a personal finance perspective. If you take a lump sum payment and you’re younger than 59 ½, you may not only owe income taxes on the withdrawal, but also a 10% early withdrawal penalty. What’s more, your money will no longer be working for you in a tax-advantaged account, potentially setting you back in your retirement savings goals.

A better option is to roll over your 401(k) into another tax-advantaged retirement account, such as your new employer’s plan, if they offer one, without paying income taxes. Or you can roll your 401(k) into an IRA without paying taxes. IRA accounts offer the added benefit of additional investment options, and they may have lower fees than your 401(k).

Recommended: How to Transfer Your 401(k) When Changing to a New Job

6. Protect Your Earnings with Disability Insurance

An injury or an illness that keeps you from going to work can hamper your retirement savings plan. However, disability insurance can help cover a portion of your lost income — usually between 50% and 70% — for a period of time.

Most employers offer some sort of short-term disability insurance, with a benefit period of three to six months. Some employers may offer long-term policies that cover periods of five, 10, or 20 years, or even through retirement age.

Check with your employer to see if you are covered by a disability policy and whether it provides enough coverage for your needs. If your employer’s plan falls short, or you don’t have access to one, you might consider purchasing a policy on your own.

The Takeaway

The earlier you can start saving for retirement the better. A long time horizon gives you the opportunity to take advantage of compounding growth for a longer period of time, which can help you increase the amount you’re able to save. Pay attention to the fees you’re paying on investments, which can eat away at returns over time.

Ready to invest for your retirement? It’s easy to get started when you open a traditional or Roth IRA with SoFi. SoFi doesn’t charge commissions, but other fees apply (full fee disclosure here).

Easily manage your retirement savings with a SoFi IRA.


Photo credit: iStock/AJ_Watt

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

SoFi Invest®
SoFi Invest refers to the two investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA(www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, please visit SoFi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or pre-qualification for any loan product offered by SoFi Bank, N.A.

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eggs in a nest mobile

Building a Nest Egg in 5 Steps

A nest egg can help you save for future goals, such as buying a home or for your retirement. Building a nest egg is an important part of a financial strategy, as it can help you cover important costs or allow you to become financially secure.

A financial nest egg requires some planning and commitment. In general, the sooner you start building a nest egg, the better.

What Is a Nest Egg?

So what is a nest egg exactly? A financial nest egg is a large amount of money that someone saves and/or invests to meet a certain financial goal. Usually, a nest egg focuses on longer-term goals such as saving for retirement, paying for a child’s college education, or buying a home.

A nest egg could also help you handle emergency costs — such as medical bills, pricey home fixes, or car repairs. There is no one answer for what a nest egg should be used for, as it depends on each person’s unique aims and circumstances.

💡 Quick Tip: Before opening any investment account, consider what level of risk you are comfortable with. If you’re not sure, start with more conservative investments, and then adjust your portfolio as you learn more.

Understanding How a Nest Egg Works

There are a few things to know about how to successfully build a nest egg.

•   You have to have a plan. Unlike saving for short-term goals, building a nest egg takes time and you need a strategy. A common technique is to save a certain amount each month or each week.

•   You need to save your savings. This may sound obvious, but in order to save money every week or month, you have to put it in a savings or investment account of some sort. If you “save” the money in your checking account, you may end up spending your savings.

•   Don’t touch your nest egg. The flip side of that equation is about spending: In order for your nest egg to grow and for you to reach your savings goals by a certain age, you have to make it untouchable. When saving a nest egg, you have to keep your saved money out of reach and protect it.

How Much Money Should Be in Your Nest Egg?

There is no one correct and specific amount a nest egg should be. The amount is different for each person, depending on their needs. It also depends on what you’re using your nest egg for. If you’re using it to buy a house, for instance, you’ll likely need less than if you are using your nest egg for retirement.

As a general rule, some financial advisers suggest saving 80% of your annual income for retirement. However, the amount is different for each person, depending on the type of lifestyle they want to have in retirement. For instance, someone who wants to travel a lot may want to save 90% or more of their annual income.

A retirement calculator can help you determine if you’re on track to reach your retirement goals.

What Are Nest Eggs Used for?

As mentioned, nest eggs are often used for future financial goals, such as retirement, a child’s education, or buying a house.

A nest egg can also be used for emergency costs, such as expensive home repairs, medical bills, or car repairs.

💡 Recommended: Retirement Planning: Guide to Financially Preparing for Retirement

5 Steps to Building a Nest Egg

1. Set a SMART Financial Goal

The SMART goal technique is a popular method for setting goals, including financial ones. The SMART technique calls for goals to be (S)pecific, (M)easurable, (A)chievable, (R)elevant, and (T)ime bound.

With this approach, it’s not enough just to say, “I want to learn how to build a nest egg for emergencies.” The SMART goal technique requires you to walk through each step:

•   Be Specific: How much money is needed for an emergency? One rule of thumb is to save at least three months worth of living expenses, in case of a crisis like an illness or layoff. But you also approach it from another angle: Maybe you just want $1,800 in the bank for car and home repairs.

•   Make it Measurable and Achievable: Once you decide on the amount that’s your target goal, you can figure out exactly how to build a nest egg that will support that goal. If you want to save money from your salary, such as $1,800, you’d set aside $200 per month for nine months — or $100 per month for 18 months. Be sure to create a roadmap that’s measurable and doable for you.

Last, keeping your goal Relevant and Time-bound is a part of the first three steps, but it also entails something further: You must keep your goal a priority. And you must stick to your timeframe in order to reach it.

For example, if you commit to saving $200 per month for nine months in order to have an emergency fund of $1,800, that means you can’t suddenly earmark that $200 for something else.

2. Create a Budget

It’s vital to have a plan in order to create a nest egg — for the simple reason that saving a larger amount of money takes time and focus. A budget is an excellent tool for helping you save the amount you need steadily over time. But a budget only works if you can live with it.

There are numerous methods to manage how you spend and save, so find one that suits you as you build up your nest egg. There’s the 50-30-20 plan, the envelope method, the zero-based budget, etc. There are also apps that can help you budget.

Fortunately, testing budgets is fairly easy. And you’ll quickly sense which methods are easiest for you.

3. Pay Off Debt

Debt can be a major roadblock in building a nest egg, especially if it’s high-interest debt. Those who are struggling to pay down debt may not be able to put as much money into savings as they would like. Prioritizing paying down debt quickly can help save money on interest and reduce financial stress. Adding debt payments into a monthly budget can be one smart way to make sure a debt repayment plan stays on track.

If you’re having trouble paying down a certain debt, like a credit card or medical bill, it might be worth calling the lender. In some cases, lenders may work with an individual to create a manageable debt repayment plan. Calling the lender before the debt is sent to a debt collector is key, as many debt collectors don’t accept payment plans.

Debt Repayment Strategies

Here are two popular debt repayment strategies that might be worth researching: the avalanche method and the snowball method.

The avalanche method focuses on paying off the debt with the highest interest rate as fast as possible, because the interest is costing you the most. This method can save the most money in the long run.

The other option is the snowball method, which can be more motivating as it focuses on paying off the smallest debt first while making minimum payments on all other debts. When one debt is paid off, you take the payment that went toward that debt and add it to the next-smallest one “snowballing” as you go.

This method can be more psychologically motivating, as it’s easier and faster to eliminate smaller debts first, but it can cost more in interest over time, especially if the larger debts have higher interest rates.

4. Make Saving Automatic

Behavioral research is pretty clear: The people who are the most successful savers don’t mess around. They put their savings on auto-pilot, by setting up automatic transfers based on their goal.

Behavior scientists have identified simple inertia as a big culprit in why we don’t save. Inertia is the human tendency to do nothing, despite having a plan to take specific actions. One of the most effective ways to get around inertia, especially when it comes to your finances, is to make savings automatic.

Set up automatic transfers to your savings account online every week, or every month. While you’re at it, set up automatic payments to the debts you owe. Don’t assume you can make progress with good intentions alone. Technology is your friend, so use it!

5. Start Investing in Your Nest Egg

The same is true of investing. Investing can be intimidating at first. Combine that with inertia, and it can be hard to get yourself off the starting block. Also, you may wonder whether it makes sense to invest your savings, when investing always comes with a possible risk of loss (in addition to potential gains).

You may want to keep short-term savings in a regular savings or money market account — or in a CD (certificate of deposit), if you want a modest rate of interest and truly don’t plan to touch that money for a certain period of time. But for longer-term savings, especially retirement, you can consider investing your money in the market. SoFi’s automated investing can help you set up a portfolio to match your goals.

You can also set up a brokerage account and start investing yourself. Whichever route you choose, be sure to make the contributions automatic. Investing your money on a regular cadence helps your money to grow because regular contributions add up.

The Power of Compounding Interest

When saving money to build a nest egg in certain savings vehicles, such as a high-yield savings account or a money market account, compound interest can be a major growth factor. Put simply, compound interest is interest that you earn on interest.

Here’s how it works: Compound interest is earned on the initial principal in a savings vehicle and the interest that accrues on that principal. So, for instance, if you have $500 in a high-yield savings account and you earn $5 interest on that amount, the $5 is added to the principal and you then earn interest on the new, bigger amount. Compound interest can help your savings grow.

With investments, compound returns work in a similar manner. Compounding returns are the earnings you regularly receive from contributions you’ve made to an investment.

Compound returns can be achieved by any type of asset class that produces returns on both the initial amount — or the principal — as well as any profits or returns that are generated after the initial investment. Some investment types that earn compound interest are stocks and mutual funds.

💡 Quick Tip: Are self-directed brokerage accounts cost efficient? They can be, because they offer the convenience of being able to buy stocks online without using a traditional full-service broker (and the typical broker fees).

Why Having a Nest Egg Is Important

A financial nest egg can help you save for retirement and/or achieve certain financial goals, such as paying for your child’s education. By building a nest egg as early as you can, ideally starting in your 20s or 30s, and contributing to it regularly, the more time your money will have to grow and weather any market downturns. For instance, if you start investing in your nest egg at age 25, and you retire at age 65, your money will have 40 years to accumulate.

Investing in Your Nest Egg With SoFi

Like most financial decisions, building a nest egg starts with articulating goals and then creating a specific plan of action to reach them. Using a method like the SMART goal technique, it’s possible to build a nest egg for retirement, to buy a home, pay for a child’s education, or other life goals.

Because a nest egg is typically a larger amount of money than you’d save for a short-term goal, it’s wise to use some kind of budgeting system, tool, or app to help you make progress. Perhaps the most important ingredient in building a nest egg is using the power of automation. Use automatic deposits and transfers to help you save, pay off debt, and even to start investing.

Ready to invest in your goals? It’s easy to get started when you open an investment account with SoFi Invest. You can invest in stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and more. SoFi doesn’t charge commissions, but other fees apply (full fee disclosure here).


Invest with as little as $5 with a SoFi Active Investing account.

FAQ

What is a financial nest egg?

A financial nest egg is a substantial amount of money you save or invest to meet a certain financial goal. A nest egg typically focuses on future milestones, such as retirement, paying for a child’s college education, or buying a home.

How much money is a nest egg?

There is no one specific amount of money a nest egg should be. The amount is different for each person, depending on their needs and what they’re using the nest egg for. For instance, if a nest egg is for retirement, some financial advisers suggest saving at least 80% percent of your annual income.

Why is it important to have a nest egg?

A nest egg allows you to save a substantial amount of money for retirement or to pay for your child’s education, for instance. By starting to build a nest egg as early as you can, the more time your money has to grow.


Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

SoFi Invest®
SoFi Invest refers to the two investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA(www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, please visit SoFi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or pre-qualification for any loan product offered by SoFi Bank, N.A.

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Why You Should Start Retirement Planning in Your 20s

Why You Should Start Retirement Planning in Your 20s

When you’re in your 20s, the last thing on your mind may be the end of your career and the retirement that comes after. But thinking about retirement now can ensure your financial security in the future.

The longer you have to save for retirement, the better. Here’s why you should start thinking about retirement planning and investing in your 20s.

Main Reason to Start Saving for Retirement Early

When you start investing in your 20s, even if you begin with just a small amount, you have more time to build your nest egg. Typically, having a long time horizon means you have time to weather the ups and downs of the markets.

What’s more — and this is critical — the earlier you start saving, by opening a savings vehicle such as a high-yield savings account or a money market account, for instance, the more time you’ll have to take advantage of compound interest, which can help boost your ability to save. Compound interest is the reason small amounts of money saved now can go further than much larger amounts of money saved later. The more time you have, the more returns compound interest can deliver.

Compound Interest Example

Imagine you are 25 with plans to retire at 65. That gives you 40 years to save. If you save $100 a month in a money market account with an average annual return of 6% compounded monthly, at age 60, you would have saved about $200,244.

Now, let’s imagine that you waited for 30 years, until age 55 to start saving. You put $1,000 a month into a money market account. With an average annual return of 6% compounding monthly, you’d only have about $165,698 by the time you’re ready to retire, far less than if you’d started saving smaller amounts earlier.

The lesson? The longer you wait to start saving for retirement, the more money you’ll have to save later to make up the difference. Depending on your financial situation, it could be difficult to find these extra funds when you’re older.

Though it may not sound fun in your 20s to start putting money toward retirement, it may actually be easier in the long run.

💡 Quick Tip: Before opening an investment account, know your investment objectives, time horizon, and risk tolerance. These fundamentals will help keep your strategy on track and with the aim of meeting your goals.

Boost your retirement contributions with a 1% match.

SoFi IRAs now get a 1% match on every dollar you deposit, up to the annual contribution limits. Open an account today and get started.


Only offers made via ACH are eligible for the match. ACATs, wires, and rollovers are not included. Offer ends 12/31/23.

How to Start Saving for Retirement in Your 20s

If you’re new to saving, starting a retirement fund requires a little bit of planning.

Step 1: Calculate how much you need to save

Set a goal. Consider your target retirement date and how long you’ll expect to be retired based on current life expectancy. What kind of lifestyle do you want to lead? And what do you expect your retirement expenses to be?

Step 2: Choose a savings vehicle

When it comes to where to put your savings, you have a number of options. For example, as of early August 2023, you could get around 4.5% APY on a high-yield savings account.

Many retirement savers also opt to use an investing account, such as a taxable brokerage account or tax-advantaged retirement savings account instead.

Keep in mind that investments in equities or other securities are riskier than savings accounts, but that allows for the possibility of better returns. Young investors may be better positioned than older investors to take on additional risk, since they have time to recover after a market decline. However, the amount of risk you’re willing to take on is an important consideration and a personal choice.

Step 3: Start investing

Once you’ve opened an account, your investment strategy depends on age, goals, time horizon and risk tolerance. For example, the longer you have before you retire, the more money you might consider investing in riskier assets such as stock, since you’ll have longer to ride out any rocky period in the market. As retirement approaches, you may want to re-allocate more of your portfolio to less risky assets, such as bonds.

Types of Retirement Plans

If you’re interested in opening a tax-advantaged retirement plan, there are three main account types to consider: 401(k)s and traditional IRAs, and Roth IRAs.

401(k)

A 401(k) is an employer sponsored retirement account that you invest in through your workplace, if your employer offers it. You make contributions to 401(k)s with pre-tax funds (meaning contributions lower your taxable income), usually deducted from your paycheck. Your 401(k) will typically offer a relatively small menu of investments from which you can choose.

Employers may also contribute to your 401(k) and often offer matching contributions. Consider saving enough money to at least meet your employer’s match, which is essentially free money and an important part of your total compensation.

Some companies also offer a Roth 401(k), which uses after-tax paycheck deferrals.

Individuals can contribute up to $22,500 in their 401(k) in 2023. And those aged 50 and up can make an additional catch-up contribution of $7,500.

Money invested inside a 401(k) grows tax-deferred, and you’ll pay regular income tax on withdrawals that you make after age 59 ½. If you take out money before then, you could owe both income taxes and a 10% early withdrawal penalty.

You must begin making required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your account by age 73.

Learn more: What Is a 401(k)?

Traditional IRA

Traditional IRAs are not offered through employers. Anyone can open one as long as they have earned income. Depending on your income and access to other retirement savings accounts, you may be able to deduct contributions to a traditional IRA on your taxes.

As with 401(k) contributions, you’d owe taxes on traditional IRA withdrawals after age 59 ½ and may have to pay taxes and a penalty on early withdrawals.

In 2023, traditional IRA contribution limits are $6,500 a year or $7,500 for those aged 50 and up. Compared to 401(k)s, IRAs offer individuals the ability to invest in a much broader range of investments. These investments can then grow tax-deferred inside the account. Traditional IRAs are also subject to RMDs at age 73.

Roth IRA

Unlike 401(k)s and traditional IRAs, savings go into Roth IRAs with after-tax dollars and provide no immediate tax benefit. However, money inside the account grows tax-free and it isn’t subject to income tax when withdrawals are made after age 59 ½.

You can also withdraw your principal (but not the earnings) from a Roth at any time without a tax penalty as long as the Roth has been open for five tax years. The first tax year begins on January 1 of the year the first contribution was made and ends on the tax filing deadline of the next year, such as April 15. Any contribution made during that time counts as being made in the prior year. So, for instance if you made your first contribution on April 10, 2023, it counts as though it were made at the beginning of 2022. Therefore, your Roth would be considered open for five tax years in January 2027.

Roths are not subject to RMD rules. Contribution limits are the same as traditional IRAs.


💡 Quick Tip: The advantage of opening a Roth IRA and a tax-deferred account like a 401(k) or traditional IRA is that by the time you retire, you’ll have tax-free income from your Roth, and taxable income from the tax-deferred account. This can help with tax planning.

Investing in Multiple Accounts

Individuals can have both a traditional and Roth IRA. But note the contribution limits apply to total contributions across both. So if you’re 25 and put $3,250 in a traditional IRA, you could only put up to $3,250 in your Roth as well.

You can also contribute to both a 401(k) and an IRA, however if you have access to a 401(k) at work you may not be able to deduct your IRA contributions.

Retirement Plan Strategies

The investment strategy you choose will depend largely on three things: your goals, time horizon and risk tolerance. These factors will help you determine your asset allocation, what types of assets you hold and in what proportion. Your retirement portfolio as a 20-something investor will likely look very different from a retirement portfolio of a 50-something investor.

For example, those with a high risk tolerance and long time horizon might hold a greater portion of stocks. This asset class is typically more volatile than bonds, but it also provides greater potential for growth.

The shorter a person’s time horizon and the less risk tolerance they have, the greater proportion of bonds they may want to include in their portfolio. Here’s a look at some portfolio strategies and the asset allocation that might accompany them:

Sample Portfolio Style

Asset allocation

Aggressive 100% stocks
Moderately Aggressive 80% stocks, 20% bonds
Moderate 60% stocks, 40% bonds
Moderately Conservative 30% stocks, 70% bonds
Conservative 100% bonds

The Takeaway

Even if you don’t have a lot of room in your budget to start investing, putting away what you can as early as you can, can go a long way toward saving for retirement. As you start to earn more money, you can increase the amount of money that you’re saving over time.

Ready to invest for your retirement? It’s easy to get started when you open a traditional or Roth IRA with SoFi. SoFi doesn’t charge commissions, but other fees apply (full fee disclosure here).

Help grow your nest egg with a SoFi IRA.

Photo credit: iStock/izusek


Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

SoFi Invest®
SoFi Invest refers to the two investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA(www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, please visit SoFi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or pre-qualification for any loan product offered by SoFi Bank, N.A.

SOIN0723081

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