Americans have, on average, six-figure balances in their retirement accounts.

Fidelity Investments' Q2 2023 retirement analysis reveals that the average balances in Americans' IRAs, 401(k)s and 403(b)s have hit $113,800, $112,400 and $102,400, respectively, — each one marking an increase for the third quarter in a row.

Though Americans have found a way to continue contributing to their nest eggs, however, it's worth mentioning that it likely hasn't come easy in today's economic climate. With prices remaining high and many Americans living paycheck to paycheck, you're not alone if you're struggling to save for retirement.

Below, CNBC Select has some tips on how you can fund your future through this uncertainty.

What the average retirement balance means for you

Everyone's journey to retirement looks different and only you can know if you're on track to enjoying your golden years in comfort. But seeing how much Americans save on average can help motivate you to take the below actions if your own savings fall short of that number.

Pay your future self first by automating your retirement savings

Do yourself a favor and set up an autopay that puts a portion of each paycheck into a retirement fund before it hits your bank account. If your employer pays you with direct deposit, you can likely ask them to do this for you. This prevents you from spending that cash and becoming accustomed to living on an income that doesn't account for your retirement plans.

Meet your employer's 401(k) match

If your employer offers a 401(k) match, do your best to contribute enough to meet that match. For example, if your company matches dollar-for-dollar the first 6% of your paycheck, you'd want to contribute at least 6% to get that full match. This would mean both you and the employer each contribute 6% — equating to a total contribution of 12% of your salary. Fidelity's standard guideline is to save at least 15% of your gross income annually for retirement (including any employer match), so this example — and in general the idea of easily doubling your savings via an employer match — comes pretty close to achieving that.

But what if my employer doesn't offer a 401(k) option?

Not all employees have access to an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan — let alone a company match. But you can still take advantage of other retirement-saving vehicles such as a traditional or Roth IRA. (And even if you do have a 401(k), adding an IRA as well to the mix can broaden and diversify your investment choices, helping you save more.)

In fact, according to the same Fidelity retirement analysis, Roth IRAs are the most popular retirement-saving vehicle, with 59.1% of all IRA contributions across generations going into a Roth in Q2 2023. With a Roth IRA, savers pay taxes upfront by contributing after-tax dollars. That means the withdrawals they take during retirement are tax-free. Roth IRAs are a smart choice for those who expect to be in a lower tax bracket today than when they retire.

CNBC Select ranked the best Roth IRAs and below are our top picks:

Start small if you have to — just start

While you want to save as much as you can toward your retirement (without derailing your other financial goals), you can start small. The goal here is just to start; the earlier the better thanks to compound interest, meaning your money is making more money over time.

For those with a 401(k) through their employer, check to see if the plan offers a feature called "automatic escalation," which means that your contribution amount will automatically increase each year up to a certain limit. For example, your contributions could automatically increase by 1% every year so that you're slowly building toward the matching amount, and beyond.

Leave your retirement savings alone

401(k)s and IRAs are investment accounts, meaning any savings you put there are typically invested in the stock market. Like most other investments, your savings will fluctuate in value along with the overall market. Your best move regardless of what the market does? Leave your retirement funds alone.

In fact, constantly watching the markets is actually what experts deem one of the biggest investing mistakes, since you may feel compelled to make changes based on unpredictable, short-term activity. You should hold investments for as long as you can to maximize your returns, and this is particularly true with retirement accounts, which traditionally have the longest time horizon.

If you want to get more actively involved in the markets using money that isn't earmarked for retirement, robo-advisors have become a popular choice for both beginner and seasoned investors. Betterment and Wealthfront are good options that charge low annual advisory fees and help you create an investment strategy and portfolio based on your individual risk tolerance.


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  • Minimum deposit and balance

    Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. $500 minimum deposit for investment accounts

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  • Investment vehicles

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    Stocks, bonds, ETFs and cash. Additional asset classes to your portfolio include real estate, natural resources and dividend stocks

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Terms apply.

Bottom line

Knowing where Americans' average retirement account balances stand can help savers see how they compare, and the above guidelines are helpful for those who feel that they are behind when it comes to saving for their nonworking years.

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At CNBC Select, our mission is to provide our readers with high-quality service journalism and comprehensive consumer advice so they can make informed decisions with their money. Every investment review is based on rigorous reporting by our team of expert writers and editors with extensive knowledge of investment productsWhile CNBC Select earns a commission from affiliate partners on many offers and links, we create all our content without input from our commercial team or any outside third parties, and we pride ourselves on our journalistic standards and ethics. See our methodology for more information on how we choose the best investment accounts.

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.