Save More in 2018

Retirement contribution and Social Security limits on the rise

The maximum contribution to 401(k) accounts rises by $500 in 2018, the first increase in three years. If you have not already done so, now is the time to plan for contributions into your retirement accounts in 2018.

Retirement Contribution Limits
Retirement Program 2018 2017 Change Age 50 or
over catch up
401(k), 403(b), 457 plans
$18,500
$18,000
+$500 add: $6,000
IRA: Roth
$5,500
$5,500
none add: $1,000
IRA: SIMPLE
$12,500
$12,500
none add: $3,000
IRA: Traditional
$5,500
$5,500
none add: $1,000
Social Security
Item 2018 2017 Change
Wages subject to Social Security
$128,700
$127,200
+$1,500 Annual Social Security employee tax: $7,979.40
Average estimated monthly retirement benefit
$1,404
$1,360
+$44

Don’t forget to account for any matching programs offered by your employer as you determine your various funding levels for next year.

Holiday Shopping Survival Guide

GiftThe two biggest shopping days of the year are just around the corner. Black Friday, on Nov. 24, is the day after Thanksgiving when brick-and-mortar retailers entice shoppers with special deals. And online retailers provide a second round of shopping madness on Nov. 27, Cyber Monday. As you start to get bombarded with ads and emails, here are ideas to help make the most of these shopping-day phenomena.

 

Bullet Point Create a list before you shop. This can help eliminate unnecessary and impulsive purchases in-store or online. Consider breaking your list out into categories, like:

  • Necessary purchases
  • Gifts
  • Nice-to-have purchases
Bullet Point Create a budget and stick to it. If you take time before you shop to see what deals are available, you’ll be less likely to go over budget with your spending. After you make your budget, stick to it.
Bullet Point Start looking at ads as early as possible. Give yourself plenty of time to peruse and compare ads. Remember stores are competing against one another for business. This means there could be similar sales and deals at multiple places, including online. Once you find the best ads, you can create a targeted shopping plan.
Bullet Point Find the best way to make your purchases. Check both in-store Black Friday sales and online sales for Cyber Monday. Figure out the best way to make your purchases, even if that means venturing out on Black Friday for half of the things you need and taking advantage of online deals on Cyber Monday.
Bullet Point Make sure the deal is worth it. Do your homework. This means you should check the price history, verify the make and model of products (especially for electronics), and read reviews. Make sure there’s an actual discount, not just an increased price with a coupon attached.
Bullet Point Validate with social media. Use social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see what other people are talking about. You may even be able to find hidden coupons or learn about little-known deals.
Bullet Point Double-check the return policy. One way to avoid buyer’s remorse is to know the return policy for in-store and online purchases. Every business has a unique return policy, which can change for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Moral of the story: know the return policy, no matter how big or small the purchase.
Bullet Point Don’t stress out. Try not to let excitement turn into stress and anxiety. It is easy to make a bad purchase decision caused by the chaos these annual sales events create. Remember you’ll always have more options, no matter what happens this year on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Most businesses have seasonal holiday sales in stores and online, so there’s plenty of time left for holiday shopping.