5 Tips for Late-Start Retirement Savings | Brighthouse Financial
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  • 3-Minute Article
  • |
  • May 15, 2017

5 Tips for Late-Start Retirement Savings

Taking these five steps can help you get closer to your retirement goal.

Steps that can help you get closer to your retirement goals
Questions this article can help you answer:
  • How can I create guaranteed income in retirement?
  • When can I start catch-up contributions?
  • How long should I work before retiring?

You can keep the plans you’ve made for the future on track even if you start saving for retirement later in life. Consider the following five techniques to help you reach your retirement goal.

Maximize Your Employer’s 401(k) Contribution

Income Savings

If your employer offers a 401(k) matching program, at a minimum, you should consider contributing as much as your employer will match. For example, let’s say your employer offers a 50% match of the first 6% of your total salary that you contribute. If you decide to invest 6% of your salary in your 401(k) plan, your employer will match dollar for dollar up to 3% of your salary on top of the 6% you already invested.

Missing out Full 401K Match

Employees Pass up in Employer Matching Funds Annually

401k Company Match

Make Catch-Up Contributions

In 2020, you can contribute up to $19,500 to your 401(k) plan. For people age 50 and older, you can also “catch up” on retirement savings by contributing up to $6,000 more to a company plan and $1,000 more to an IRA.

The following table provides an example of what a catch-up contribution alone could total if a contribution were made every year for 15 years with a 4% annual return.

Catch Up Contributions

Pay Off High-Interest Debt

Americans age 50 and over carry an average credit card debt of $8,364.6 Paying off the balance of high-interest debt in full can help you save and invest more money.

Invest in a Guaranteed Income Source

An annuity can provide a guaranteed income stream to help you reach your goals throughout retirement. Studies show that retirees who have guaranteed income tend to be happier in retirement because:7

  • It reduces the risk of outliving assets
  • It bridges the gap between savings and future income needs

Think About Working Longer

Delaying retirement, even for a few years, can significantly increase your retirement income. For example, if you wait until age 70 to begin receiving Social Security benefits, the payout would be 32% more than if you began receiving the benefits at age 66.8 By working longer, your savings have more time to grow tax deferred.

Social Security Payout