For the short term: Consolidate your accounts
Bringing your accounts together at as few financial institutions as possible has a number of advantages. For starters, you’ll have less paperwork to fuss with. And with all of your money in one place, your required minimum distributions from IRAs and the like will be easier to calculate. Your bigger total balances will probably entitle you to reduced fees and more personalized service, too.
If you already do business with a brokerage firm or mutual-fund company that you’re happy with, that’s probably the best place to start. Call to ask what would be involved in transferring any other stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, and so forth to that financial institution. Because you’re not liquidating the accounts but merely moving them to a new custodian, there should be no tax consequences. If any assets can’t be transferred, you can choose to sell them and reinvest the proceeds or continue to keep them separate.
For the long term: Sock away more for retirement
You might find boosting your retirement savings rate from, say, 7 percent to 15 percent difficult or even impossible. But nudging it up to 9 percent probably isn’t, Garry says. And our Money Lab found that the additional savings add up. For example, if a 50-year-old conservative investor who has been saving 7 percent of his salary increased it to 9 percent, at age 67 his nest egg would be at least 10 percent larger.
Putting your extra savings into your 401(k) plan, if you have one, is the best place to start, Adams says. For one thing, the money comes out of your paychecks automatically. Your contributions and the money they earn over time aren’t taxed until you begin withdrawals. And many employers still offer some kind of match. In 2013 the amount you can contribute climbed to $23,000 for those 50 or older; it’s now $17,500 if you’re younger than that.