Five quick and easy steps that can improve your retirement savings

Not all retirement planning is time intensive.

Here are five steps you can take — even during a busy day — that will help with saving for retirement.

1. Open a Roth IRA: You contribute after-tax money, which grows tax-free, and withdrawals in retirement are tax-free, too.

A Roth is a great idea for young workers and kids with part-time or summer jobs because the longer investments in the account grow, the bigger the tax advantage.

In 2018, you can contribute up to the amount of your earnings from work, or a maximum of $5,500 if you’re younger than 50 or $6,500 if older.

Also, to make a full or partial contribution, your modified adjusted gross income must be less than $135,000 for singles or $199,000 for married joint filers. Fidelity and TD Ameritrade offer Roth accounts with no minimum investment or maintenance fees. (For a minor child, you’ll need to open a custodial Roth account.) Charles Schwab has a $100 minimum investment for a custodial IRA but no maintenance fees.

2. If you’re self-employed, open a solo 401(k): You can put in up to $18,500 in 2018 ($24,500 if you’re 50 or older), plus as much as 20 percent of your net self-employment income, up to a total of $55,000 (or $61,000 if you are 50 or older) — or the amount of freelance income for the year, whichever is less.

Your contributions are tax-deductible, and they grow tax-deferred until you take withdrawals in retirement. Fidelity, Schwab and several other financial institutions offer low-cost solo 401(k)s.

3. See how much lifetime income an annuity can provide: Run your numbers at The site can calculate the income you’d receive from a lump sum or what you’d have to invest to get the income you need.

4. Do a 401(k) fee checkup: If you have a 401(k), you pay fees. Yet TD Ameritrade recently found that nearly four out of 10 workers polled didn’t know they paid any fees.

But the more you pay in fees, the less you have for retirement. Get a breakdown of your fees by using Ameritrade’s free 401(k) Fee Analyzer:

You’ll need to type in your fund information or provide your 401(k) account login credentials to allow read-only access to your account.

How to tell how your 401(k) plan rates? Check out, which rates thousands of 401(k) plans on fees and other factors and shows how a plan ranks against its peers.

5. Set up an online account with Social Security: Even if you’re years from retirement, this will prevent identity thieves from creating a fraudulent account and applying for benefits in your name. In addition, you can make sure your earnings record, which is used to calculate your benefits, is accurate.

If you’ve put a credit freeze on your credit records, you’ll need to lift the freeze before you apply online, because Social Security uses your credit reports to confirm your identity. Or you can apply in person at a Social Security office.

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