Just 1% more can make a big difference

Often it's the little things in life that can make the biggest difference. That's true when it comes to saving for retirement. Putting just 1% more into your UC 403(b), 457(b) Plan could make a noticeable difference in your lifestyle in retirement. The benefits of saving just a little more now can pay off later.

Small steps now can turn into big strides later.

While 1% is a small percentage of your annual earnings today, after 20 or 30 years it can make a big difference in your account balance when you retire. That's because the longer you give your money a chance to grow, the better. And it works no matter how old you are—or how far off retirement is. 

Let's look at some examples.

Increase your contribution by 1% and by retirement you could …

Have an additional

to enjoy VACATIONS


Have an additional

to enjoy FAMILY


Have an additional

to enjoy FUN



Age: 35
Earns: $60,000
Less than $12 per week 


Age: 45
Earns: $70,000
Less than $14 per week 


Age: 55
Earns: $80,000
Less than $16 per week 

*Approximation based on a 1% increase in contribution rate. Continued employment from current age to retirement age, 67. We assume you are exactly your current age (in whole number of years) and will retire on your birthday at your retirement age. Number of years of savings equals retirement age minus current age. Nominal investment growth rate is assumed to be 5.5%. Hypothetical nominal salary growth rate is assumed to be 4% (2.5% inflation + 1.5% real salary growth rate). All accumulated retirement savings amounts are shown in future (nominal) dollars. This assumes no loans or withdrawals are taken throughout the current age to retirement age.

Your own plan account may earn more or less than this example and income taxes will be due when you withdraw from your account. Investing in this manner does not ensure a profit or guarantee against a loss in declining markets.


Want to create an example like the ones shown above to see what a difference even a 1% increase can make for you? Use this interactive tool to see how a small change can make a big difference. 


As you can see in our examples—and probably in your own too—small weekly amounts like $12, $14, and $16 can make a noticeable difference in your savings. So how do you find the money? We won't say to skip buying something if you really need it, but there are probably places in your spending that may be easy to cut. Even bringing your lunch or using coupons could save you $16 or more. And the beauty of the UC 403(b) or 457(b) is that your contributions come right out of your paycheck, so you may not even miss the spending money.

If a one-time increase isn’t ideal now, consider aiming to increase contributions each year. For instance, if your 401(k) lets you set automatic increases every year, consider signing up. If you usually get a raise each year, you may be able to time the increase to happen when you get an increase in pay so you won't feel the impact in your paycheck.

Starting early, saving regularly, and increasing the amount you save as your income increases can help you to achieve the retirement you envision.


Challenge yourself to save a little more. The extra money saved today could make a big difference in helping achieve the retirement you envision. Think about it this way: Do you want to be worrying about money in retirement?


Review your retirement savings

See if you’re on track to meet your long-term goals. View your Retirement Review for a personalized estimate of how much you are on track to receive in retirement from your UC benefits. This tool also compares your income to the retirement income you may need. (Login required.)