Saving six figures in your 401(k) can seem impossible in the early years. Seeing what's deducted from your pay,

And seeing that your retirement account balance isn't moving much, it makes you wonder if you should keep saving.

Your contributions will eventually be appreciated. A new retirement study sheds light on an easy trick to building a large 401(k) balance you don't have to take my word for it.

The more you save, the richer you become

The study analyzes more than 35 million tax-advantaged retirement accounts maintained by 401(k) plan administrator Fidelity.

The average balances for those who have saved in their 401(k) for five, 10, and 15 consecutive years stand out from

The analysis. In all three cases, 401(k) balances are higher than average. For example:

As of March 31, 2022, the average balance for all 401(k)s in the study is $121,700.

An average of $257,400 is accumulated by 401(k) participants who have contributed continuously for five years.

401(k) participants who have participated for 10 years in a row have an average balance of $383,100.

On average, the 15-year continuous savers have $482,900 in their 401(k)s.

What should we remember? Keep contributing continuously to your 401(k) plan in order to achieve a higher balance than the average.

If you contribute about $1,600 monthly and earn an average, inflation-adjusted return of 7% over 15 years, you can amass $482,900. 

Employer contributions are included in that amount. When you have a longer timeline, you can reach that balance

with much lower contributions. A total contribution of $980 is required if you have 20 years to save.

If you have 30 years to save, a monthly contribution of $426 is required.

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