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Personal Growth

Middle-Aged and Behind on Retirement Savings? Don’t Panic! You’re Not Alone.

Beyond the simple advice of “start putting more away,” optimizing when you start collecting social security can help you save more in the long run. 

Are you saving enough for retirement? For a large cross-section of workers in their 50s, the answer is “no, not quite.”

As Walter Updegrave of The Wall Street Journal notes, most financial advisers would stress that at that point in their careers, middle-aged workers should have stockpiled the equivalent of five to seven times their salary. The reality is that most folks are lucky to have two or three their salary stored away, if any savings at all

Updegrave notes that fully closing the gap between where you are and where you need to be is unlikely, but efforts can be made to narrow it. He suggests:

1. Start putting more away now — aim for 15-20% if possible.

2. Take advantage of when you start drawing Social Security — waiting longer will boost how much you can take out.

3. Consider working part-time during retirement, which seems counter-intuitive but will be a huge boon to your security.

While his advice is sound, Updegrave is writing to an audience of upper middle class professionals and what works for folks making $100,000/yr doesn’t necessarily work for the rest of the population. A good alternative for those folks is this general “catching up” guide from David Ning of US News and World Report.

Read more at WSJ Online and US News & World Report

Photo credit: Kurhan / Shutterstock

In the clip below, retirement researcher Alicia Munnell briefly explains how employers can make their employees’ lives easier with regard to saving.


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