Snowflaking is a play on words off Dave Ramsey’s Snowball psychologically-driven debt busting technique and it refers to putting small amounts towards your debt, snowflakes, to help eradicate debt. One of the ideas of snowflaking is that you can find small alternative sources of income and then push it towards your debt but you could really put it towards anything. You’re snowflaking when you drop your loose change in the piggy bank, so why not apply this towards retirement?
Snowflaking won’t work for things like a 401(k) since it will be a payroll deduction, but you could use it to fund your IRA, Roth or Traditional. I recommend using the piggy bank approach, putting small amounts of money into your piggy bank and then making one deposit each month, hopefully in addition to your monthly Roth IRA contribution. If you’ve maxed out your retirement fund, that’s wonderful and you can skip this. If you don’t max out your contributions to your Roth IRA each year, consider using snowflaking to help get you even closer. Remember, the 2008 Roth IRA contribution limit is $5,000 if you’re under 50 and $6,000 if you’re over (it’s the catch-up provision).