If you have a retirement plan at work, whether it’s a 401(k), 403(b) or other type, your employer typically withholds (or “defers”) your contributions from your salary and directs those amounts directly into the plan.
To change how much you contribute, you’ll need to determine how your employer controls these deferrals. Some employer plans offer a self-service online deferral percentage change. Others require you to contact the plan administrator or HR department to make changes. Changes could take 1-2 pay periods to take effect.
Plans also vary in how you can specify how much to defer. Some are based on a percentage of your salary. For example, you can defer “6% of your pre-tax compensation”. Others are dollar-based. Keep in mind that if you don’t save for part of the year, you may need to increase your contributions for the rest of the year to meet your targeted yearly contribution. But don’t forget to revisit your contribution levels at the beginning of the year!