Saving for retirement may seem daunting, but it is necessary for a secure future. Younger people may think it is too early to save or may even think they can’t afford it. Older people think it is too late. The truth is, it is never too soon or too late to start saving, and they can’t afford to wait any longer.
Young Adults (under 30)
The smartest way to jumpstart 401k savings is to contribute to an employer-sponsored retirement plan. If a contribution match is offered, employees are typically required to work a minimum number of hours before they can receive this benefit. Regardless, employees should start contributing to the plan as soon as possible.
A good rule of thumb for early-career retirement savings is to start with 10-12% of the monthly salary. Contributions should increase as the salary increases. For those just starting out, they should try to save as much as possible. At a minimum, they should be sure to contribute enough to get the full matching contribution, if applicable.
Adults (under 40)
Many people in their 30s have settled into higher-earning careers. They may also have more responsibilities: mortgage, car payments, children. These additional responsibilities can make it difficult to save. For someone in their 30s just starting to save for retirement, they’ll want to ramp up contributions to 15-20% or more to make up for lost time.
For those who started saving early, contributions should steadily increase over time to reflect higher wages.
Mature Adults (40-50)
Those in their 40s are dangerously behind in their retirement savings. Fidelity recommends a 40-something have three times their annual salary saved. Additionally, they should be maxing out the annual retirement contributions. For 2020, the annual limit for 401k contributions is $19,500.
50-somethings qualify for a $6,500 catch-up contribution in 2020. This means an annual contribution limit of $26,000 for 2020.
60s and Beyond
As they near retirement age, individuals will start to be able to reap the rewards of their hard work and sacrifice. During this decade, individuals can begin collecting Social Security payments. Along with lifelong 401k savings, this should be enough to ensure smooth sailing into retirement.