Best Retirement Plan For 50 Year Old


Average 401k Balance At Age 65+ $458563 Median $132101

Sample retirement plan for 50 year old getting late start.

The most common age to retire in the U.S. is 62, so its not surprising to see the average and median 401k balance figures start to decline after age 65. Once you reach age 65, there are still several considerations for your retirement, even if you are no longer working and accumulating wealth. Some of these include making decisions about Medicare, creating a plan around withdrawing money from your retirement accounts, and evaluating any additional insurance needs.

What Is The 401k Savings Potential By Age

The following chart depicts 401k savings potential by age, based on several assumptions. These numbers can seem high to many people, especially if you are older and started your retirement savings when the contribution limit was much lower. It can still be used as a guide for your target total retirement savings amounts, including your IRA, Roth IRA, and after-tax savings. While its designed for one person, it can also be used as a guide for a married couple if one spouse decides to no longer work.

The assumptions we used for this chart include:

  • The numbers are more forward-looking vs. backward, since the average 401k contribution limits were lower in the past.
  • You start full-time employment at age 22 at a company that provides a 401k, without a company match.
  • You contribute $8,000 to your 401k after the first year, then from the second year onward, you contribute the maximum annual amount of $20,500.
  • The No Growth column shows what you could potentially have in your 401k after so many years of a constant $20,500-per-year contribution and no growth.
  • The 8% Growth* column shows what you could potentially have in your 401k after so many years of a constant $20,500-per year contribution compounded over the next 43 years.
  • The difference between the two columns emphasizes the power of growth, compounding over time. By starting early and enjoying a historically average return on 401k, at age 65, an individual could turn $869,000 of contributions into over $6.4M dollars.

Is The New 65

Between 2000 and 2014, the number of Americans who were a century or older increased by about 44%, according to a 2016 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With many people living longer, you might find that retiring a few years after age 65 is a better choice for your situation.

People should no longer look at 65 as the appropriate retirement age, said Johnson. In fact, many believe that 70 is the new 65.

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Consider A Longevity Annuity

Dr. Robert R. Johnson, former president and CEO of The American College of Financial Services, said one way to ensure that you wont outlive your savings is to purchase a longevity annuity a payment stream that starts when you reach a certain age, say 85.

If you buy a longevity annuity that covers your essential expenses, you will have peace of mind that you wont outlive your savings, he said.

Dont Forget About Taxes

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Finally, as you tote up your retirement savings, remember that not all of that money is yours to keep. When you make withdrawals from a traditional 401-type plan or traditional IRA, the IRS will tax you at your rate for ordinary income .

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

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What Is Retirement Planning

The process of deciding your income goals for life post retirement, as well as the actions and decisions required to meet those goals, is known as retirement planning. Identifying sources of revenue, estimating costs, putting in place a savings plan, and controlling assets and risk are all part of retirement planning.

Your retirement plans can begin at any time, but it is most effective if you incorporate them into your financial planning at an earlier life stage. That is the most effective way to ensure a comfortable, stable, and enjoyable retirement.

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Consider A Health Savings Account

A health savings account is a type of savings account you can use to pay for qualified out-of-pocket healthcare expenses: including deductibles and copays. While these types of accounts are specifically designed to help people with high-deductible health insurance plans , they are sometimes also an excellent way to save for future healthcare expenses as account balances can roll over every year. When you turn 55, you can even supplement the account with an extra $1,000 for catch-up contributions.

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Ideal Size Of An Emergency Fund

To start…
3-6 months of essential expenses 12 months of expenses

Emergencies are a fact of life. If you dont have liquid reserves to pay for these unexpected events, you might have to dip into your retirement savings to cover them.

Better to be prepared for short-term emergencies than to derail your long-term savings plans.

How Much Do I Need To Save For Retirement

Best retirement plan for a late start to retirement investing.

If youre wondering how much you need to save for retirement, there is no right answer, as it differs from one person to another. Moreover, while a specific savings amount might be sufficient for you, it might come close to nothing for the next person. However, there are some aspects that you can evaluate to figure out how much you should save for your retirement years, which are:

  • It goes without saying that the earlier you start saving, the better. Therefore, start by considering your age when you start saving. For instance, if you are 30 years old and investing around 20-30% of your monthly income, you will be able to save sufficient funds.
  • Next, evaluate your monthly expenses, credit card bills, EMIs, and other daily expenditure so you can get by with your savings comfortably during retirement.
  • When it comes to retirement planning and savings, it is also vital to consider all your long-term investments, as it will give you a clear idea of how much savings will be sufficient once you retire.
  • Lastly, think about the lifestyle you wish to lead post-retirement. For instance, if you plan on travelling/exploring new countries after retirement, you might need a larger savings fund. However, if you wish to stay indoors and spend time with your loved ones, you can get by with less. Regardless, it is crucial to have sufficient financial backup for emergencies.

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How To Stay On Track

The point of benchmarks isnt to make you feel superior or inadequate. Its to prompt action, coupled with a guidepost to inform those actions, even if that means staying the course. If youre not on track, dont despair. Focus less on the shortfall and more on the incremental steps you can take to rectify the situation:

  • Make sure you are taking advantage of the full company match in your workplace retirement plan.

  • If you can increase your savings rate right away, thats ideal. If not, gradually save more over time.

  • If you have a company retirement plan that enables automatic increases, sign up.

  • If you are struggling to save, many employers offer financial wellness programs or other tools that can help with budgeting and basic finances.

Use these savings benchmarks to get more comfortable with planning for retirement. Then go beyond the rule of thumb to fully understand your potential retirement expenses and income sources. Beyond your savings, think about what you are saving for and how you envision spending your time after years of hard work. After all, thats the reason why you are saving in the first place.

Past performance cannot guarantee future results. All investments are subject to market risk, including the possible loss of principal. All charts and tables are shown for illustrative purposes only.

View investment professional background on FINRA’s BrokerCheck.


How Do We Define Retirement In 2022

In August 2022, tennis player Serena Williams announced her plans to retire from tennis at age 40. Retirement, Williams wrote in Vogue, was a word she never liked or believed felt modern.

Maybe the best word to describe what Im up to is evolution, Williams wrote. Im here to tell you that Im evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.

Williams is a millennial and part of the generation that now has an evolving vision of retirement, according to Schwabs Retirement Reimagined Study. The study used advanced predictive modeling techniques to forecast key differences in how millennials, Gen Z and boomers approach saving for and living in retirement.

Learn More: 7 Surprisingly Easy Ways To Reach Retirement Goals

The traditional view of retirement has long had lifes proverbial finish line undertones. Many have focused on target savings necessary to retire. Depending on the type of calculator you use, maybe you need $2 million to retire or maybe its $4 million or more. Others have seen it as a date. By age 62, retirees can start collecting Social Security benefits.

A changing of the retirement guard is underway, in the current inflationary period marked by rising costs of living and when seemingly every generation carries some form of debt. Millennials are reimagining the way we prepare for and envision life in retirement in 2022 and beyond.

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The Benchmarks For Those Closer To Retirement

The range gets wider as you get older, so we also provide more detailed estimates for people approaching retirement. This helps someone find a realistic target based on income and marital status, which affect Social Security benefits.

A Closer Look at Savings Benchmarks Later in Your Career

Savings Benchmarks Later in Your Career

11x 13.5x

Assumptions: See Savings Benchmarks by AgeAs a Multiple of Income above. Dual income means that one spouse generates 75% of the income that the other spouse earns.

Vanguard Target Retirement 2030

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  • Expenses: 0.14%
  • Category: Target-Date 2030
  • 10-year return: 9.04%

Target-date retirement funds can make the ultimate set-it-and-forget it retirement funds. For those investors that are in their 50s now, Vanguard Target Retirement 2030 could be the right fit for this type of fund.

The beauty of target-date funds is that the fund management will gradually shift the portfolio assets from stocks to bonds, as the target date approaches. For retirement savers in their 50s, the year 2030 could be a good retirement target to make.

The VTHRX portfolio consists of four Vanguard index funds, which combine to make an asset allocation of about two-thirds stocks and one-third bonds. This is a solid moderate allocation. By the time the target date of 2030 gets here, the allocation will have shifted to an allocation that would be more conservative.

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How To Retire At 50 Comfortably

If you want to retire at 50, you must have a plan. Just like with anything else in life, if you want to achieve something, you need to have a plan and put that plan into action. The first step is figuring out how much money youll need to save to live comfortably.

This can be difficult to answer because everyones definition of comfortable differs. However, a good rule of thumb is to have at least enough saved to cover your basic living expenses for at least five years. This will ensure you have a cushion in case anything unexpected arises.

Once you know how much money youll need to save, you can start working on a retirement plan. There are a few different options when it comes to retirement plans, but the three most popular are 401s, IRAs, and annuities.

Maximize Retirement Account Contributions

Contributing the maximum amount possible to retirement accounts is one way to make your money to work in your favor. Not only can you receive a tax credit toward contributions to your IRA, 401 plan or 403 plan, but retirement accounts also have less risk compared with mutual funds or stocks. And they earn a higher rate of return than bank savings accounts.

Additionally, employers often match contributions to 401 plans, helping you earn more money in the long run. The most common employer match is 50 percent of the employees contribution, up to 6 percent of their salary. Ask your employer if the company offers a 401 match program and how much it will contribute.

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Leverage All The Resources At Your Disposal

There are many tools available to help you understand your financial life in more detail, and when these tools are so readily available, not leveraging them can result in a huge blind spot when it comes to your finances. Simply having this information will help you understand if you are on the right track, and how to accelerate your progress on your retirement goals. If working with a financial advisor is an option for you, this can be an invaluable resource, especially as you get closer to retirement. A financial advisor who has your best interest in mind can help you strategize and address potential gaps in your savings and retirement income plans.

Read More: 7 Essential Steps for Retirement Planning

Tips For Investing In Your 50s

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The investing information provided on this page is for educational purposes only. NerdWallet does not offer advisory or brokerage services, nor does it recommend or advise investors to buy or sell particular stocks, securities or other investments.

Once you reach the big 5-0, blowing out birthday candles can feel less like a celebration and more like fanning the flames on a pyre of financial obligations. This is the decade when the costs of kids, aging parents, cars and homes converge, and questions about retirement begin looming large.

Retirement saving benchmarks can put your portfolios value in perspective. For example, according to T. Rowe Price, by age 50 an individual should have six times their salary saved. Thats $420,000 for someone earning $70,000 a year.

But an even better check-in for midlife investors is to run a few different saving and investing scenarios through a good retirement calculator. The exercise will provide more accurate results than when you were younger and projected retirement expenses were a bit fuzzier.

Did the math and found youre short of your goals? Theres still time to make headway. Heres how.

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Generate Income Beyond Investing

Your investments are likely a stream of income you plan to use in retirement. Besides your portfolio and retirement savings, however, you should think of other ways to increase your earnings, like getting a side hustle.

A 2019 Bankrate survey found that 45 percent of Americans earn extra income on the side. Freelancing or serving as a consultant can provide additional earnings if youre behind when it comes to saving for retirement. And its less risky than alternative routes like buying an annuity.

What Are The Best Investments To Make In Your 20s

When youre in your 20s, you benefit from a long time horizon for retirement. This allows you to invest more of your portfolio into aggressive, riskier investments because youll have time to rebound from downturns along the way. A greater share of your investments can be in stocks and riskier funds.

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Retirement Planning Tip #4 Investigate Insurance Options For Extra Income

There are a variety of insurance products that will increase your cash in retirement. An annuity can be an excellent product for some and annuities come in many varieties. For example, pay a lump sum to an annuity company and you can receive monthly payments for the rest of your life.

You can sell your life insurance policy for cash, if your kids are grown and you dont need it anymore. In the same way that you might sell your big home and rent a smaller one in retirement, you can sell your insurance policy and use the proceeds to help fund your retirement. Whichever insurance product or products you choose, read the fine print and understand the costs.

Bonus Should I Invest in an Annuity?

Setting Up Automatic Contributions Makes Saving Easy

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Once you’ve opened your IRA, set up a monthly automatic deposit from your checking account to your IRA. A $6,000 yearly contribution comes out to $500 a month. If that’s more than you can manage, contribute as much as you can and try to add to it with any bonuses, raises, or gifts. You actually have until the tax filing date of the following year to make your full IRA contribution.

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Cut Down On Your Monthly Costs

By regularly reviewing the areas where you spend the most money, you can determine where to cut back to have a greater monthly cash flow in retirement. This could mean cutting back on eating out, expensive purchases or extravagant vacations. In an email to, Timothy Iseler of Iseler Financial LLC suggested:

I recommend a one-month spending fast, during which all expenses except the essential like housing, utilities, groceries, insurance premiums, and debt payments are paused. A month should be enough time to know which discretionary expenses will be easiest to control and highlight which others are most important.

Not only will you find that you have a better idea of what retirement will look like with the amount youll have, but youll also see which expenses are easier than others to eliminate.

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