5 Ways to Hike Your IRA Contributions

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Investments in individual retirement accounts are at an all-time high, Fidelity Investments reports. That number is up to $4,150, a 5.7% uptick from 2012, and average IRA balances are up as a result to $89,100, up 10% over the same period.

Fidelity's theory is that Americans are doing a good job this year of keeping their New Year's financial resolutions.

"Saving more, paying off debt and spending less were the top three New Year financial resolutions cited in a recent Fidelity study, and our IRA analysis indicates that Americans are taking those financial resolutions seriously," says Ken Hevert, a vice president at Fidelity Investments. "The fact that IRA contributions are up across all age groups is a positive indication that many people are indeed committed to saving for retirement by putting at least a portion of what they earn into tax-advantaged vehicles such as an IRA."

IRA contributions are up across all age groups, with the 50-and-over demographic saving the most. The 70-and-over group saved $4,960 last year, while the 60-69 age group saved $4,990.

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How can you get in on this and increase your own IRA contributions? Here's a quick tips list to work from:

Go mobile. Transmitting money to your IRA is easy now. Fidelity says use of mobile check deposits has grown by 1,000% in recent years. Just snap a photo of your check and send the image to your IRA provider. Virtually all providers offer access to mobile technologies.

Use a raise or bonus. If you get a raise at work, or better yet, a bonus, avoid the temptation of using it for a new car or a big vacation. Instead, plow it into your IRA. Aim for the max-out level of $5,500 this year, plus a $1,000 catch-up provision if you're 50 or older. Do the same with any inheritance money you may get this year.

Cut your household budget. Simply curbing your budget by 5% allows you the extra cash needed to max out on your IRA contributions this year. You may need to cut some dinners out, but chances are you won't miss the money.

Automate your savings. You can easily set up an automatic deduction between your bank and IRA provider, where your plan contribution comes straight out of your bank account. If you're on a tight budget, start small at $50 per month and hike your automatic payment as your finances i prove. The important thing is to get going and start saving.

Set a goal. If you have a goal in mind, it's that much easier to save more in an IRA. Aim for a specific amount of money you want in your IRA plan at the end of each month. Then find any means possible to meet that goal, and repeat the process. It may seem basic, but setting financial goals really gives you a blueprint for retirement savings.

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