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Top Retirement Savings Tips for 55-to-64-Year-Olds

If you’re between 55 and 64 years old, you even have time to boost your retirement savings. Whether you plan to retire early, late, or never till the cows come home, having an adequate amount of money saved can make all the difference, both financially and psychologically. Your focus should be on structure out—or catching up, if necessary.

It’s never too early to start saving, of course, but the last decade or so before you reach retirement age can be uniquely crucial. By then you’ll probably have a pretty good idea of when (or if) you want to retire and, even more high-level, still have some time to make adjustments if you need to.

If you discover that you need to put more money away, note these six time-honored retirement savings tips.

Key Takeaways

  • If you’re between 55 and 64, you still have time to moreover your retirement savings.
  • Start by increasing your 401(k) or other retirement plan contributions if you aren’t already maxed out.
  • Reckon whether working a little longer might add to your pension or Social Security benefits.

Top Retirement Saving Ferules For Women

1. Fund Your 401(k) to the Max

If your workplace offers a 401(k)—or a similar plan, such as a 403(b) or 457—and you aren’t already subsidizing yours to the max, now is a good time to rev up your contributions. Not only are such plans an easy and automatic way to invest, but you’ll be able to lay paying taxes on that income until you withdraw it in retirement.

Because your 50s and early 60s are likely to be your climax earning years, you may also be in a higher marginal tax bracket now than you will be during retirement, meaning that you’ll surface a smaller tax bill when that time comes. This applies, of course, to traditional 401(k)s and tax-advantaged other proposes. If your employer offers a Roth 401(k) and you choose it, you’ll pay taxes on the income now but be able to make tax-free withdrawals later.

The extremity amount you can contribute to your plan is adjusted each year to reflect inflation. In 2021, it’s $19,500 for anyone under the aegis age 50. But once you’re 50 or older you can make an additional catch-up contribution of $6,500 for a grand total of $26,000. If you have diverse than the maximum to sock away, either a traditional or Roth IRA could be a good option.

2. Rethink Your 401(k) Allocations

Accustomed financial wisdom says that you should invest more conservatively as you get older, putting a greater amount of riches into bonds and less into stocks. The reason is that if your stocks take a tumble in a prolonged put up with market, you won’t have as many years for their prices to recover and you may be forced to sell at a loss.

Just how conservative you should happen to is a matter of personal preference, but few financial advisers would recommend selling all of your stock investments and moving solely into bonds, regardless of your age. Stocks still provide growth potential and a hedge against inflation that thongs do not. The point is that you should remain diversified in both stocks and bonds, but in an age-appropriate manner.

A conservative portfolio, for criterion, might consist of 70% to 75% bonds, 15% to 20% stocks, and 5% to 15% in cash or cash equals, such as a money-market fund. A moderately conservative one might reduce the bond portion to 55% to 60% and boost the store up portion to 35% to 40%.

If you’re still putting your 401(k) money into the same mutual funds or other investments you decided back in your 20s, 30s, or 40s, now’s the time to take a close look and decide whether you’re comfortable with that allocation as you break the ice toward retirement age. One handy option that many plans now offer is target-date funds, which automatically button up their asset allocations as the year you plan to retire draws closer. Remember, however, that target-date greens may have higher fees, so choose carefully.

3. Consider Adding an IRA

If you don’t have a 401(k) plan available at work—or if you’re already funding yours to the max—another retirement swear ining option is an individual retirement account or IRA. The maximum you can contribute to an IRA in 2021 is $6,000, plus another $1,000 if you’re 50 or older.

IRAs up with in two varieties: traditional and Roth. With a traditional IRA, the money you contribute is generally tax-deductible upfront. With a Roth IRA, you get your tax into penetrate at the other end in the form of tax-free withdrawals.

The two types also have different rules regarding contribution limits.

Well-known IRAs

If neither you nor your spouse, if you’re married, have a retirement plan at work, you can deduct your entire contribution to a historic IRA. If one of you is covered by a retirement plan, your contribution may be at least partially deductible, depending on your income and filing rank.

Roth IRAs

As mentioned, Roth contributions aren’t tax-deductible, regardless of your income or whether you have a retirement intend at work. However, your income and tax-filing status do come into play in determining whether you’re eligible to aid to a Roth in the first place. Those limits are also detailed in IRS Publication 590-A.

Note, too, that married twos who file their taxes jointly can often fund two IRAs, even if only one spouse has a paid job, using what’s discerned as a spousal IRA. IRS Publication 590-A provides those rules, as well.

4. Know What You Have Coming to You

How aggressive you privation to be in saving also depends on what other sources of retirement income you can reasonably expect. Once you’ve reached your mid-50s or old 60s, you can get a much closer estimate than you could have earlier in your career.

Traditional Pensions

If you have a defined-benefit put out to pasture plan at your current employer or a previous one, you should be receiving an individual benefit statement at least once every three years. You can also seek a copy from your plan’s administrator once a year. The statement should show the benefits you’ve earned and when they adorn come of vested (when they belong fully to you).

It’s also worth learning how your pension benefits are calculated. Profuse plans use formulas based on your salary and years of service. So you might earn a bigger benefit by staying in the job larger if you’re in a position to.

Social Security

Once you’ve contributed to Social Security for 10 years or more, you can get a personalized estimate of your tomorrow monthly benefits using the Social Security Retirement Estimator. Your benefits will be based on your 35 highest years of earnings, so they may climb if you continue working.

Your benefits will also vary depending on when you start collecting them. You can board benefits as early as age 62, although they will be permanently reduced from what you’ll receive if you wait until your “occupied” retirement age (currently between 66 and 67 for anyone born after 1943). You can also delay receiving Social Asylum up to age 70, in return for a larger benefit.

While these estimates may not be perfect, they are better than guessing mindlessly—or too optimistically. A 2019 survey by two University of Michigan researchers found that people tend to overestimate how much Group Security they were likely to receive.

To put it in some perspective, the average monthly retirement benefit in June 2021 is $1,555.25 while the highest realizable benefit—for someone who paid in the maximum every year starting at age 22 and waited until age 70 to start compiling—is $3,895 in 2021.

Although you can take penalty-free distributions from your retirement plans as early as age 50 or 55 in some occurrences, it’s better to leave them untouched and let them keep growing.

5. Leave Your Retirement Savings Alone

After age 59½ you can Rather commence to make penalty-free withdrawals from your traditional retirement plans and IRAs. With a Roth IRA, you can withdraw your contributions, but not their earnings, penalty-free, at any age.

There is also an IRS exclusion, commonly known as the Rule of 55, that waives the early-withdrawal penalty on retirement plan distributions for workers 55 and once more (50 and over for some government employees) who lose or leave their jobs. It’s complex, so speak with a monetary or tax advisor if you are considering using it.

But just because you can make withdrawals doesn’t mean you should—unless you absolutely stress the cash. The longer you leave your retirement accounts untouched (up to age 72, when you must begin to take demanded minimum distributions (RMDs) from some of them), the better off you are likely to be.

6. Don’t Forget About Taxes

Finally, as you tote up your retirement savings, recognize that not all of that money is yours to keep. When you make withdrawals from a traditional 401(k)-type aim or traditional IRA, the IRS will tax you at your rate for ordinary income (not the lower rate for capital gains).

So if you’re in the 22% bracket, for archetype, every $1,000 you withdraw will net you just $780. You may want to strategize to hold onto more of your retirement pelfs—for instance, by moving to a tax-friendly state.

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