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Starting Out

Start saving for retirement
Starting out
Start Saving
for Retirement
Increase retirement savings
Building wealth
Nearing retirement
Nearing retirement
& fine-tune
your plan
Generate retirement income
In retirement
Retirement may be decades away, but it's never too early to start investing, even just a small amount at a time.

Your action plan

Make the most of your 401(k) employer match

If your employer offers a 401(k) plan and will match your contributions, don't leave that "free money" on the table! Because contributions are taken from your pay before your employer withholds income tax, you may be able to reduce your tax bill, and more of your money will be able to go to work for you.
If your employer doesn't provide a match, it's still important to invest as much as you can now and let your earnings have an opportunity to work in your favor.

Consider opening an individual retirement account (IRA)

You may want to think about opening an IRA in addition to or instead of a 401(k) plan if your employer doesn't offer one. Even if you have a 401(k), you may have more investment choices through an IRA.
Whether you choose a Traditional or Roth IRA will depend largely on your income and age. (If you're a small business owner, you may also be able to contribute to a small business IRA).

Traditional IRA

Your contributions can grow tax-deferred (you don't pay taxes until you take a distribution, unless you've made a non-deductible contribution). Contributions may also be tax deductible.

Roth IRA

Contributions are made on an after-tax basis; future withdrawals on contributions and earnings are generally federal tax-free if you meet certain criteria.Footnote 1
Compare IRAs to see what's right for you. If you open an IRA, our automatic investment plan makes it easy to invest a small amount on a regular schedule, automatically.Footnote 2
Get started: Find the right IRA

Looking for more ways to save & invest? Max out your 401(k)

If you're able to save and invest more, keep it going and make additional contributions to your 401(k). This could set you on a good track for the future and reduce your income tax burden even more. You can also contribute to an IRA.

Our Perspectives

Get insights from Merrill to help you plan and invest for retirement.

Changing jobs?

You now have choices for what to do with your 401(k).3

Plan by life stage

Learn more about investing for this phase of your life.
Helpful tools & resources
How much could you need to retire?
Helpful tools & resources
Get your personal retirement number with our easy-to-use retirement calculator
Learn about IRAs
Helpful tools & resources
Enjoy tax-deferred growth and contributions that may be tax-deductible
Helpful tools & resources
Earnings grow tax-free; withdrawals are federal income tax-free and, in some cases, state tax-free if you meet certain criteria1
Helpful tools & resources
Learn which IRA might be right for you
New to investing?
Helpful tools & resources
Investing cycle
Ready to get started?
Footnote 1 Please note, however, that income-based restrictions are still in place regarding how much you can contribute to a Roth IRA.

Footnote 2 Keep in mind that an automatic investment plan cannot guarantee a profit or prevent a loss in declining markets. Since such an investment plan involves continual investment in securities regardless of fluctuating price levels, you should consider your willingness to continue purchasing during periods of high or low price levels.

You have choices about what to do with your employer-sponsored retirement plan accounts. Depending on your financial circumstances, needs and goals, you may choose to roll over to an IRA or convert to a Roth IRA, roll over an employer-sponsored plan from your old job to your new employer, take a distribution, or leave the account where it is. Each choice may offer different investment options and services, fees and expenses, withdrawal options, required minimum distributions, tax treatment (particularly with reference to employer stock), and different types of protection from creditors and legal judgments. These are complex choices and should be considered with care. For more information visit our rollover page or call Merrill at 888.637.3343.
Merrill and its Financial Solutions Advisors do not provide tax, accounting or legal advice. Any tax statements contained herein were not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of avoiding U.S. federal, state or local tax penalties. Please consult your own independent advisor as to any tax, accounting or legal statements made herein.

A direct rollover occurs when you request that a rollover check be made payable directly to the new custodian for the benefit of your individual retirement account (IRA) or employer-sponsored retirement plan. A direct rollover is not subject to current tax or penalties.

An indirect rollover occurs when you request that a rollover check be made payable to you, after which you deposit the money into your IRA or another employer's retirement plan within 60 days. When such a distribution is made by the plan, the plan is required by law to withhold 20% of the taxable amount for prepayment of federal income taxes. If you wish to rollover the entire distribution, you must make up the 20% withholding out of your own funds, or you will be subject to income taxes and possibly early withdrawal penalties on the shortfall. If you fail to complete the rollover within 60 days, all or part of the money distributed to you will be taxable and a 10% additional tax for early withdrawals may apply.