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When your in your 50’s, retirement planning is more important than ever, especially considering many retirees can expect to live well into their 90’s (some, into their 100’s). So, if you retire at age 65, you’re potentially looking at 30 or more years of retirement to pay for. That means you’d better have enough savings to cover it.
If you’re already 50, but aren’t prepared for your retirement… get help NOW! You might want to check out a few online calculators to start (here’s a retirement planner from Bankrate.com), then go speak with a professional (maybe an accountant). Ask someone you trust to recommend one.
You may find that you have some catch up to do, but its not all bad news. Tax laws do allow some “catch-up” contributions for those over age 50. For example, in 2008, individuals over the age of 50 are allowed to save up to $20,500 in a 401(k) and up to $6,000 in an IRA. (To find out how much you can put in your 401(k), try this 401(k) Savings Calculator from Bankrate.com).
Having trouble coming up with the extra money? If you have credit card debt, pay that off immediately (or, at least, as fast as you can). Then, use the money you were sending to your credit card company every month to supplement your savings. If you’re having to make a choice between long term care insurance and retirement saving, experts recommend that 50-somethings save for retirement… then shift their money into long term care insurance in the 60’s.