How to Catch Up on Retirement Savings in Your 50s and 60s

How to Catch Up on Retirement Savings in Your 50s and 60s


Written by John Rothans

Jan 15, 2021

If you don’t have as big a nest egg as you’d like and need to know how to catch up on retirement savings in your 50s and even your 60s, don’t panic. You can still achieve realistic retirement savings goals with the following five tips, each of which includes suggestions for additional resources that are within easy reach.

1. Open a Self-Directed IRA

You can personally control your account’s assets—bypassing the employer or plan sponsor of a 401(k)—with a self-directed IRA. Having personal control opens up a greater selection of assets. Among that selection are more traditional assets such as stocks and bonds, as well as less traditional non-paper-based assets such as real estate, undeveloped land, promissory notes, tax lien certificates, water rights, livestock, and IRA-approved precious metals.

That latter asset type includes gold and silver coins and bars that meet Internal Revenue Code requirements for fineness and production source.

Available resources: your personal financial planner(s), U.S. Money Reserve IRA Account Executives, online guides to help you choose between a Roth or traditional IRA

2. Contribute More to Your Retirement Fund

A penny saved is a penny earned. However, if you’re looking to make inroads with your retirement savings, you’ll need to “earn” much more than a cent or two. Fortunately, you may be in a better position to do that than you realize. Bolstering your retirement fund contributions may be as straightforward as:

  • “Right-sizing” insurance plans if, for example, your children are grown and self-sufficient.
  • Seeking lower bank and credit fees.
  • Eliminating unnecessary expenses.

Another potential finance source for your retirement savings: any tax refund you receive each year.

Available resources: qualified financial planners, an objective third party who can help review long-running expenses

3. Utilize Catch-Up Contributions

This tip is as on the nose as it gets for anyone wondering how to play catch-up on retirement savings. Here’s why: If you’re age 50 or above, you can use something called “catch-up contributions” to exceed retirement contribution maximums. For example, for a 401(k) plan, those extra funds can total $6,500 per year. As a tactic, catch-up contributions can pair well with the money you save after revisiting your spending habits.

If you feel like you’re playing catch-up on the idea of catch-up contributions, you’re not alone. More than a quarter of baby boomers are unaware of their ability to make such contributions to a 401(k) plan, U.S. News & World Report notes.

Additional resources: your 401(k) plan administrator, online guides about IRA contributions

4. Continue Working

Many professionals retire out of necessity. Two leading reasons: their own or a loved one’s health issue or an early forced retirement. However, if you can work longer, doing so literally buys you time by:

  • Generating income, any excess of which can go into your retirement funds.
  • Delaying the time before you must tap into either those retirement funds or your Social Security income.

Speaking with professional colleagues and someone in your company’s HR department (such as a recruiter) can help you identify crucial skills that can keep you in the work game longer.

Additional resources: your HR department, professional colleagues, online guides with tips to help you protect your retirement savings when changing jobs

5. Turn Your Skills Into Extra Money

If you have a hobby or favorite pastime, consider how it might become an income-generating side hustle with profits that could go into your retirement savings. Options may include:

  • Handyperson/maintenance work
  • Catering parties and events
  • Woodworking
  • Sales, such as real estate
  • Freelance writing, consulting, or marketing
  • Photography for weddings and other special times
  • Teaching as adjunct faculty

You won’t be the only one with a side gig.

“Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen people 55 and older increasingly seek out freelance, part-time, and project-based work, and we expect this trend will continue, thanks largely to the rise of remote work,” Sara Sutton, CEO of FlexJobs shared with Kiplinger.

Additional resources: Small Business Administration, professionals established in your field of interest

It’s Always a Good Time to Start

It’s never too late to have a conversation. Speak with an IRA Account Executive at U.S. Money Reserve to learn how precious metals can help support your retirement plans in your 50s and 60s.


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