The average employer 401(k) match is at an all-time high—see how yours compares

“Even if they’re offering 30 cents on the dollar, that’s an automatic 30% return that you’re getting,” says Sipes. That’s hard to beat.

If you contribute up to the match and you’re still financially comfortable, Sipes recommends auto-escalations at least once a year.

“If you get a 3% raise, maybe you take half of that and try to increase your 401(k) contribution,” she says. “Just have a pay-yourself-first mentality.” The closer you get to maxing out your 401(k) contributions — which is $19,000 this year — the better, and any little bit from your employer helps.

Janet Alvarez, personal finance expert at Wise Bread, takes it one step further, telling CNBC Make It that savers should divert the entirety of their raises into their retirement savings.

“If you can live on your current income, there’s no reason why any salary increase can’t go straight into your retirement account,” says Alvarez.

And even if your employer doesn’t offer a match — 35% of private sector workers do not have access to a 401(k) plan — it’s important to contribute to a retirement account, whether that’s a 401(k) or an individual retirement account, says Alvarez.

“If your employer doesn’t match, consider contributing tax refunds or any bonuses or commissions into a self-directed IRA,” she says. “The average tax refund is about $2,500, which in some cases amounts to more money than an employer match to a 401(k).”

Here are some other savings tips:

Don’t miss: Why it’s a great time for millennials to contribute to a Roth IRA

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