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Grown and Saving!
The prime earning years, the period between 40 – 60 years of old is when most of us have settled into a career and are earning our highest income. Now that you are done weeping, know that it’s also during this time, people should consider shifting their fiscal focus and aim for wealth accumulation!
Here are three critical elements:
- Determining the size of the desired retirement nest-egg
- Eliminating debt
- Maximizing contributions to retirement plans
Fortunately, more people are investing in retirement plans. Unfortunately, too many people that are saving and investing are doing it blindly. They have not calculated the required size of their nest-egg to maintain the lifestyle they desire in retirement. Ask them about the underlying funds in their 401(k), or what the rate of return was for those funds last year, and you are likely to get a blank stare.
The key factors in determining the required nest-egg? Current principal, number of years until retirement, rate of return, annual contributions, inflation, and rate of withdrawal. Check out a detailed plan, The Simple Retirement Planner with RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.
While eliminating debt completely may not be possible for all of us, it should certainly be the objective and a detailed plan should be implemented to achieve a debt-free status prior to retirement. The sooner such a status is achieved, the more money that can be dedicated to retirement plans. At a minimum, credit card debt should be non-existent at this point, leaving only a mortgage, and potentially car loans, as the only remaining debt.
The two most prominent retirement vehicles for most individuals are the 401(k), a defined contribution plan; and traditional and Roth IRAs, individual retirement savings plans. Ideally individuals established these plans in their 20s and 30s. While it is unlikely they were able to maximize contributions, hopefully they were at least consistent.
Once an individual enters their prime earning years, every effort should be made to maximize those contributions; $17,500 per year in the case of the case of a 401(k) and $5,500 for an IRA. Note that the IRS provides an opportunity for older workers to better position themselves in retirement through catch-up contributions. For those that qualify, workers over 50, an additional $5,500 can be contributed to a 401(k) and an additional $1,000 to an IRA starting in the year they turn 50.
James Molet is the author of RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit available on Amazon.com. Mr. Molet shares insightful financial information for Healthyblackmen.org. This article submitted for those forty to sixty years of age.