If you devise a plan and start contributing now, you could easily reach your retirement goals. Thinkstock By the editors of Kiplinger's Personal Finance Updated January 2015 First the bad news: Funding 20 or 30 years in retirement could cost you well over $1 million. Now the good news: If you devise a plan and start contributing to your 401(k) plan, you could easily meet that goal. If you work for a nonprofit organization, you may have a similar tax-deferred savings option called a 403(b) plan, and public employees often participate in a 457 plan.All of these savings plans are unimaginatively named after sections of the federal tax code and they all work about the same way: Defer part of your current income into a tax shelter, where the money can grow unmolested by the IRS until you withdraw it. Avoiding taxes when the money goes in means you have more money to save and you'll enjoy supercharged compounding along the way. You don't have to be a Wall Street wizard to make a 401(k) work its magic. This tutorial will explain you how to estimate your needs and Make a Plan for Your Retirement Savings The first step to effectively using your 401(k) is to assess your retirement needs. Padding Your 401(k)Try these money-saving moves to help boost you contributions. Advertisement Start Stashing Cash in Your 401(k) Now The best strategy is to contribute as much as you can as early as you can. Know the Rules of Your 401(k) There are all sorts of regulations controlling how money goes in and comes out of a 401(k). Knowing them is crucial. Borrowing From a 401(k) Can Lead to Trouble Thinking about borrowing from your 401(k)? Be careful.