January is the best time to double check the amount of money you're contributing to your company retirement plan. Contribution levels may have changed during 2009 for various reasons: for instance you may have changed the level yourself in order to increase or decrease contributions, or a mid-year raise may have caused the dollar amount of contribution to go up. Adjustment could be needed to make sure you reach your target goal in the last pay period of 2010.
For most plans you can go online to see what you're set up to contribute. Whether you are adding a specific dollar amount per pay period or a percentage of pay, figure out what dollar amount is being contributed and multiply it by the number of pay periods in 2010 to determine what your total annual contribution will be. If need be, adjust the amount up or down so that you contribute every pay period and reach your goal at the end of the year.
Remember, contributing every week maximizes your company match. So you don't want contributions to stop in November - you want to stretch them out all the way to December 31.
For 2010 individuals under age 50 can contribute $16,500 to 401(k)s and 403(b)s and $11,500 to SIMPLE IRAs. Individuals age 50 and older can add another $5,500 to their 401(k)s and 403(b)s and an additional $2,500 to SIMPLE IRAs.