Conventional personal finance advice often can be pretty predictable: When asked "How much should I save for retirement this year?" most experts will say, "As much as you possibly can—and certainly at least as much as IRA contribution limits allow."

Realistically, retirement planning doesn’t always work that way. Typically, the IRA contribution limits are $5,000 per year or $6,000 per year if you're over 50. Be sure to read the Internal Revenue Service's guidelines for updated details. Many people in their early 20s, for example, are still struggling with student debt and other pressing expenses. For them, the idea of putting aside $5,000 per year into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) seems daunting, to say the least. Similarly, young families juggling the cost of diapers and daycare also are likely to struggle seeding an IRA. And for these folks and others, reaching the IRA contribution limits can seem less important than buying a home or starting a college fund.

The trick is to start small, but be consistent. Michael J. Fitzgerald, a Certified Financial Planner® with Fitzgerald Financial Partners in Houston recommends just getting into the habit. “Start small, saving something from each paycheck. Use your raises to boost that savings," he says. "You won't even miss it." He encourages getting rid of debt, but then getting into the habit of paying yourself first. It may take a little bit of discipline, but it's critical. "Every month, you can either decide what to do with your money, or you can let your money decide.” Schedule times to check up on yourself, and make goals to accelerate your savings rate.

Ally Bank has IRA products that can help you meet your retirement needs with the kind of flexibility that smart retirement planning requires. We offer a range of retirement products no matter where you are in your planning process—with no minimum opening deposit required. You can rest easy knowing your deposits are FDIC-insured up to the maximum allowed by law. We'll even help you take advantage of rising CD rates. With our Raise Your Rate CDs, you have the option of a one-time rate increase if our Ally 2-Year CD rate goes up; you have the option to increase your rate twice (two times) if our Ally 4-Year CD rate goes up.

Learn more at or call live, 24/7 customer care at 877-247-ALLY (2559).

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