7 Ways to Supersize Your Nest Egg After Age 50

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Retirement nest egg with $100 bill
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If you have reached the grand old age of 50, you have probably had a moment of clarity about your financial future. Perhaps you’ve taken stock of your retirement nest egg and found it a bit wanting.

If so, don’t panic: There is plenty of time to build a kitty for your golden years that will grow into a few hundred thousand dollars of savings — or even more.

Here are some ways to boost your savings efforts so you can retire with a greater sense of security.

1. Take advantage of the retirement catch-up provision

IRA investing
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Uncle Sam wants to add a little extra rocket fuel to your retirement savings efforts. If you are 50 or older, you can take advantage of “catch-up” provisions in the tax code that allow you to contribute more to your retirement accounts.

For example, if you have a 401(k) plan, you can contribute an extra $7,500 per year once you turn 50. If you have an IRA — Roth or traditional — you can add an extra $1,000 to your contribution each year beginning the year you turn 50.

The amount the government allows you to contribute to these retirement vehicles generally increases as the years roll on. These bigger contribution limits can make a large difference to the size of your nest egg over time.

2. Max out on your employer match

Happy senior worker looking confident and successful
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There’s a huge benefit to contributing the maximum allowed to your 401(k) plan. But even if you can’t save that much, at least make sure you are stuffing enough into your 401(k) to get the employer match.

You’ve probably heard it a million times, but this really is free money.

Companies take different approaches to how they match, but in some cases, the company’s contribution can be quite generous. For example, say a company offers a dollar-for-dollar match up to 4% of your salary. That means if you make $50,000, you can potentially grab an extra $2,000 for retirement each year by doing nothing but saving a bit more.

3. Sign up for a health savings account

Health savings account
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A health savings account — more commonly called an “HSA” — might just be the best hidden secret in the entire tax code. It is triple tax-advantaged:

  • Contributions can be deducted from your taxes for the tax year during which the contributions are made.
  • Any gains on your contributions compound tax-free.
  • Withdrawals are tax-free when used to pay for qualifying health care expenses.

In other words, you will never owe taxes on money that goes through an HSA, provided that you follow the IRS rules for using the money to pay for qualified health expenses.

HSA contribution limits for 2024 are:

  • $4,150 for someone with self-only health insurance coverage
  • $8,300 for someone with family coverage

Even better, you can again make a catch-up contribution. However, this time you must be 55 or older to take advantage of this provision, which is capped at $1,000 for 2024.

For more on HSAs, check out “5 Reasons This Is the Best Type of Retirement Account.”

4. Open a self-employed 401(k)

401(k) retirement nest egg
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We live in the age of the “gig economy,” in which millions of workers earn a living as freelancers or contractors. Millions of other workers own small businesses, many of which are one-person shops.

Fortunately, working on your own does not preclude you from opening a 401(k) account. Entrepreneurs and solo workers can open a self-employed 401(k) account, more commonly known as a “solo 401(k).”

These accounts allow you to add massive amounts of money into your retirement savings every year. For example, you can make the same $23,000 in employee salary deferral contributions as any other employee with a 401(k) plan. On top of that, you can make a profit-sharing contribution of up to a maximum of $69,000 in 2024.

If you are self-employed, the solo 401(k) might be the single best way to supersize your nest egg.

5. Become a landlord

Senior landlord
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Investing in real estate has long been a staple strategy for people of modest means to retire in relative comfort. One of the best ways to grow your income is to purchase a rental home or duplex and let your tenants’ rent checks pay down the mortgage over a number of years.

Yes, owning rental properties is fraught with risk. You have to screen tenants carefully to make sure you don’t end up with a troublemaker. And even if you do all of your due diligence, things can still go wrong.

But life as a landlord is one way to make money without actually having to work for it day in and day out.

And here is a bonus tip for people who really want to pad their bottom line: When you sell a rental, you have to pay capital gains tax on the profit — unless you have lived in the property for two of the five years prior to selling the unit.

So, if you can stomach it, move into the property for a couple of years before selling. This could save you tens of thousands of dollars in taxes.

6. Get a side gig

Senior man working on a laptop
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By the time you are 50, you’ve accumulated a lot of wisdom and smarts, both personally and professionally. While the Big 5-0 might be a bit too early to retire, it’s not too early to begin planning your golden years.

For starters, check out “21 Ways Retirees Can Bring in Extra Money.” It will give you the lowdown on some of the best ways to bring in income once you walk away from your full-time gig.

For more tips, check out “35 Clever Ways to Make Extra Money.”

7. Work a little longer

Senior man working in agriculture
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If you are 50 or older and your retirement savings are a bit thin, it might be time to bite the bullet and stay at your job a little longer than planned.

Working longer allows you to save more cash before you finally step away from your career for good. In addition, working longer might boost the size of your monthly check once you file for Social Security.

Remaining on the job for a few extra years can provide a powerful boost to your savings efforts, especially if you have reached the point in your career where you are well-compensated for what you do.

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