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STORM SEASON
Important Note:

June through November our agency may become prohibited from binding coverage should a “Tropical Disturbance” enter the Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean Sea.

In these cases we may be unable to bind new coverage quoted in open proposals until the storm leaves our area and our binding authority has been restored.

Please arrange your coverage protection early to avoid this type of delay. While we regret any inconvenience, the carriers impose these restrictions on all agencies.

Simple Strategies to Boost Your 401(k) Balance

Simple Strategies to Boost Your 401(k) Balance

The maximum amount most individuals can contribute to a 401(k) in 2014 is $17,500 (though that increases to $23,000 if you’re 50 or older). This means stashing away $1,458 per month if you want to take full advantage of the opportunity. If you can do so, the tax savings alone are a good reason to go for it. According to U.S. News and World Report, someone in the 25 percent tax bracket contributing the maximum amount this year will save $4,375 in federal income tax as a result.

Of course, not everyone can afford such a sizable monthly investment. If that’s the case in your situation, consider these simple strategies that will still boost your 401(k) balance over time.

  • Take the employer match. If your employer matches a portion of each 401(k) contribution, try to save enough each month to earn it. Fail to do so and you’re basically throwing away free money.
  • Save your raise. Did you get a salary increase this year? Take the difference and bump up the amount you save in your 401(k) each month accordingly. Many plans allow you to adjust your contribution rate mid-year.
  • Switch to a Roth. If you have the option to choose a Roth 401(k), do so, especially if you’re a younger saver. While the contribution limits are the same as for a regular 401(k), you make them with after-tax dollars. This means your post-retirement withdrawals will be tax-free.
  • Avoid 401(k) loans. You may be tempted to dip into your 401(k) balance to finance a home purchase or education. Think twice before doing so. Many plans prohibit you from making additional contributions until you repay the loan. As a result, you’ll basically be putting an end to your retirement savings progress until you’ve satisfied the balance.
  • Maximize your spouse’s savings as well. If your spouse’s company offers a 401(k) as well, he or she should also contribute the maximum possible amount. If the government considers one of you a “high earner” subject to a lower maximum, it’s that much more important that the lower earner contribute as much as he or she possibly can.
  • Consolidate your old accounts. If you’ve worked for more than one employer, it’s possible you have balances in old 401(k) accounts. You can roll these over into your current employer’s plan, making it easier for you to track your investments.
  • Evaluate your investments regularly. Sure, you picked what you thought were the best investments when you signed up for the 401(k), but that doesn’t mean you can’t revisit your choices. Ask your financial planner to review your asset allocation and 401(k) fees with you at least once a year.
  • Don’t be so quick to “cash out.” Once you reach age 59.5, you can withdraw money from your 401(k) penalty free. However, avoid doing so if you’re still working at that time. Post retirement, consider leaving the funds in the 401(k)—if it has decent investment choices and low fees—or rolling it into an individual retirement account (IRA) where it can continue to grow tax-deferred.