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Did you get an increase? It's time to increase your savings too

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What happens if I don't have a retirement plan in the workplace?

The rule works if you have an individual retirement account but may require more attention from you. Ideally, if you save on an I.R.A., you should establish regular transfers from your checking account, or even a split deposit of your paycheck, to the I.R.A., timed to your check deposits, to reduce the temptation to spend the money.

"If your paycheck arrives on the 15th, set up a transfer by the 17th," said Cheryl A. Costa, a financial planner in Framingham, Massachusetts.

When you get an increase, increase the size of your transfers accordingly.

The message that people must internalize, said Wendel, remains the same: "I always keep part of my increase."

Money is scarce and I do not receive regular increases. What I can do?

Save as much as you can reasonably, and don't worry if you have to start small, said Gary Koenig, vice president of economic and consumer security at the AARP Public Policy Institute, which focuses on issues related to older Americans.

Some people may get discouraged by the frequently cited guidelines, such as saving 10 or 15 percent of their paycheck, so they don't even try, he said. But a great barrier to retirement savings is just beginning. Enroll in a retirement plan or open an I.R.A. And saving only 1 percent of your salary can make things work, and you can build from there.

"It's really a big step," Koenig said.

When you get extra money – as a bonus, a reimbursement of income tax or even reimbursements of a flexible expense account in the workplace – allocate the money to retirement, suggests the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, a group for financial planners that only They pay fees.

"Have a policy that when you get money you didn't expect, a certain percentage goes to some form of savings," said Tyler Reeves, a financial planner in Birmingham, Alabama.

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