If you’d like to automate your entire investment strategy, target date funds will do this handily. Just choose a fund based on your expected retirement year, and the fund managers will adjust the portfolio on a regular basis to try to maximize the fund’s return based on an age appropriate level of risk.

4. Retirement investing

Many savings plan participants fall victim to the belief that they have to take their money out of their savings plan when they retire. But for an increasing number of plans, this isn’t the case. Many plans want you to stay in the plan, which can be much more cost effective than holding investments outside the plan. And the target date fund you’ve invested in (you move fast, so have already followed my 3rd step above!) has an investment mix for the retirement years that has been constructed specifically to seek the investment needs of participants who elect to stay.

There are other forms of automation within many plans that space precludes from covering in this article, such as an auto-rebalancing feature that some plans use to bring your portfolio back to a set mix. And fans of automation should consider some ideas outside of the 401(k) that can make life much easier, such as annuities, which can automate income in retirement.

Much like autopilots, automation in the 401(k) needs regular oversight. You can’t just ‘set it and forget it’—participants need to check their overall savings strategy on a regular basis to see if an occasional course correction is required.

New technologies are bringing automation to many aspects of financial services. Within our savings plans, automating contribution increases and the investment process can have a very positive impact on our savings success, helping you to close the retirement savings gap.

Now, if only I could automate my job…

Scott Dingwell is a Director in BlackRock’s Global Client Group where he serves on the U.S. and Canada Defined Contribution Team. He writes about retirement for The Blog.