This Woman’s Hands-Off 401(k) Strategy Could Help Her Retire Years Early

Savings money jar
BrianAJackson/Getty Images

Find some wood.

Now knock on it.

The stock market has been doing pretty well lately.

Which is helping Americans’ retirement accounts.

(Yes, there’s finally some good news out there about our state of retirement.)

Many Americans are capitalizing on the healthy market. The average 401(k) account held $97,700, a 9.6% increase from last year, according to a recent Fidelity Investments report.

The report also discovered that employees are stashing away an average $5,850 a year in their 401(k)s and tend to opt for their company’s full match, an average of 4.5%.

In Bloomberg’s opinion, “Americans Keep Crushing It…”

How to Tell If Your 401(k) is Also “Crushing It”

Admittedly, I hadn’t checked in with my 401(k) in a while. I know, I know…

I finally looked the other day and was happy with what I saw, but I wasn’t sure if it was actually good.

Was I getting the most bang for my buck? Were my stocks and bonds properly allocated? I’m young; was I taking the appropriate amount of risk?

I’d heard about an online service called Blooom, an SEC-registered investment advisory firm that optimizes and monitors your 401(k) for you. One of its founders deemed himself a “Penny Preacher.”

I was sold.

I entered my name (Carson), my birthday (I’m 25) and the age I hope to retire by (optimistically, 60). Then I dug up my 401(k) account’s email and password (so have that ready).

Within a few minutes, I received a free health report for my 401(k).

Here’s what it revealed:

Blooom-analysis screenshot

I’d always heard hidden fees can screw you, so I was happy to see that part was OK. Diversification… not so much.

I decided to opt in for the $10 per month service. Within a few hours, Blooom had reconfigured my 401(k) without me having to do a single thing — except click a button. It now aggressively handles my investments so I can ideally retire (maybe?) five years early.

I still have the option to adjust my preferences as needed, so if I don’t feel so comfortable with being aggressive as I get older, then I can change it. But I trust that the platform knows what’s best, based on my needs.

Blooom-nice-work screenshot

Sticking to the online platform is a lot easier — and probably cheaper — than a financial advisor, which tend to charge $1,000 to $2,000 a year. It’ll update as needed and send me notifications.

Plus, it’s a lot better than diving into hours and hours of research, in my opinion.

Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s a big fan of anything and everything automated.

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