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The Basics of Saving and Investing for Retirement

09/27/2023 Written by: CapTrust

Figuring out the best investment strategy for your retirement savings can be challenging. There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy, either in choosing an investment plan or using a management style. Some people want to invest aggressively for potential growth, while others take a moderate approach.


No matter which approach they take, most people benefit from learning more about their investment options. It’s a good idea to develop a personal strategy, based on your age, life situation, risk tolerance, and other factors, says Brian Eichler, a senior team leader on CAPTRUST’s Advice & Wellness team.


The Importance of Saving

Retirement counselors emphasize that saving is key to financial wellness. “Saving is the driver,” Eichler says. “I can build you a portfolio that might be a Ferrari, but if you don’t put gas in the tank, it’s not going anywhere.”

Utilize our financial planning calculators at to figure out what makes the most sense.


When participants review their portfolios, many discover they need to pump up their savings. Eichler advises participants to work up to saving 10 to 15 percent of their gross incomes for retirement. One general rule of thumb: Keep enough money in an emergency fund to cover three to six months of income. This may prevent you from having to take a distribution from your retirement account before age 59 ½, because tax consequences and penalties may be imposed on early withdrawals.


How to Build Momentum

Ranson urges people to start saving as early as possible. It’s better to begin with something small now than wait until you’re 45 to get started. “It’s like a snowball. If you start on the top of the hill, it’s going to get big by the time it gets to the bottom. But if you start in the middle, it won’t grow as much,” she says.


The Benefits of Roth Savings

Some participants are interested in Roth accounts, the experts say. Roths, whether 401(k), 403(b), or IRAs, are all designed to allow investors to grow their money on a tax-free basis. Roths are funded with after-tax money, meaning the taxes are paid on the income when it is earned. Once the money is in the account, the compounded earnings are distributed tax-free later, as long as the investor meets certain requirements, Eichler says.


Overall, when choosing an investment strategy, people have to decide what works for them. For help finding the best fit, contact us at


Written by Nanci Hellmich for Captrust

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