Do you have a retirement account? Are you contributing?
If not, make it a goal to set one up by the end of the year. You can make a contribution for calender year 2010 as late as the date you file your 2010 taxes, which means you have until April to save up!
I recently set up a SEP retirement account, which is like a 401(k) for self-employed folks. I did not contribute a cent to a SEP last year because after maxing out my Roth IRA, I did not have anything left. It was the first year I launched BargainBabe.com and my income was meager.
This year I am delighted to max out my Roth IRA and make a healthy contribution to my SEP retirement account, though the limit is based on net income, not gross, so I will calculate my actual SEP contribution closer to the year’s end.
I have an auto-deduction from my checking account to my Roth IRA every month. I used to make one big contribution to my IRA, but then I learned about dollar cost averaging. My money has a greater chance of growing rapidly if I buy stocks a little at a time instead of a few bulk buys.
This year the maximum IRA contribution (either to a ROTH, a regular IRA, or a combination) is $5,000 if you are under the age of 50 at the end of the year. If you are 50 or older before the end of the year, you can contribute $6,000.
Wondering about the difference between a traditional and Roth IRA and unsure which is best for you? JD Roth of Get Rich Slowly has a simple answer for you (click on the above link).
If you regularly put money into your 401(k), check how your 401(k) plan compares to others using BrightScope.com, which grades plans at dozens of companies on a scale of 0 to 100.