I don't believe in procrastinating, except when it comes to my retirement savings. A recent article by CNBC suggests growing a nest egg becomes easier after age 50. Pre-retirees may be in a better financial position to fund their retirement, according to the report. I've found my disposable income first began shrinking in my 30s and has continued to decline into my 40s. If it's hard to save money now in my 40s, I'm hoping the situation will change when I hit the big 5-0. Everyone is in a different situation when it comes to their personal finances and ability to save for retirement. It's probably easier for people higher-income people to fund their retirement at any age, but especially in their 50s when the government allows catch-up contributions. I'm focusing now on paying off my mortgage, but I'll pick up where I left off with saving for retirement when I'm 50.
Investing with an aggressive approach
I already have about $100,000 saved in my retirement accounts, which means I have something to work with even if I temporarily suspend my new contributions. I am going to take a more aggressive approach to investing in my 40s since I don't wish to funnel additional money into my account. I rather invest in stocks when I'm in my 40s than wait until I'm too close to retirement to recover in case the market crashes. By the time I'm 50, I'll invest more money but into more conservative funds.
Saving the right amount for retirement
Experts say the average baby boomer has about $200,000 saved for retirement, but needs at least $750,000. Although people who have higher mortgages to pay, I don't imagine I'll need that much for a comfortable retirement. In fact, I have retired friends who have only $250,000 in investments yet enjoy their lifestyles. They receive dividend payments that supplement their Social Security benefits. I estimate I'll need $350,000 saved for retirement, which means I'll have to amp up my savings in my 50s and 60s.
Being part of the 'sandwich generation'
According to CNBC, a lot of baby boomers in their 50s and 60s feel compelled to help their elderly parents and their young adult children. As a member of Generation X, I find my older baby boomer parents often need financial assistance. I also have a son who will be attending college for at least one more year. I may still choose to financially assist my aging parents and children when I am in my 50s. CNBC cited a MetLife study that showed the number of adult children providing financial assistance to a parent has more than tripled in the past 15 years. By delaying retirement until I'm 70, I should be able to meet my retirement savings goals even if I'm helping relatives.
One of the main reasons I'm waiting until I'm 50 to resume my retirement savings contributions is because I am more worried about my current financial situation. I'd like to live in a paid-off house in my 50s than have twice as much as I do now saved for retirement. Without a mortgage, I'll have more money in my 50s to put toward retirement savings. I think most financial planners exaggerate how much money people need to cover their retirement expenses.
More from this contributor:
- Personal Finance - Career & Education
- Retirement Benefits