Retirement Basics
An egg and money in a bird's nest with at $1 bill in the background
retirement
The universe of retirement accounts

Hard work and good fortune may be keys to success. But having the right equipment helps, too.

Just like you wouldn't try to prepare a gourmet meal without using top-quality ingredients, the right tools are vital when it comes to retirement, too. You need money, of course.

But accounts geared toward retirement are just as important to amassing significant wealth.

If you toss hard-earned money in any old savings vehicle, you could miss opportunities to maximize your assets. But by picking the right retirement account, you'll give your nest egg every advantage to grow.

While they come in a variety of flavors, most feature some kind of perk -- such as the opportunity for earnings to grow tax-deferred so they can be reinvested for growth.

“What's so special about retirement savings plans? Tax breaks, for one.”

There are other features that make accounts special, too, such as opportunities for midlife individuals to put extra dollars away in their later years, as well as "free money" found in certain employer-sponsored plans.

Many retirement savings accounts are available at work, and the kind you participate in -- be it a 401(k), 403(b) or Simple IRA -- will depend on factors such as your career and whether you're self-employed. Likewise, nonworkplace individual retirement accounts, namely IRAs, may or may not be options, because some have eligibility restrictions.

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