How to Start Saving for Retirement at 20, 30, 40 and 50

How to Start Saving for Retirement at 20, 30, 40, and 50


Written by John Rothans

Sep 17, 2021

According to a report from the National Institute on Retirement Security, about two of every three 21- to 32-year-olds haven’t started saving for retirement. Is that a big deal? What if you’re in your 40s or 50s? It’s never too early to start saving for retirement, and thankfully, it’s also never too late if you take action now. Here, you can learn tactics for starting or expanding your retirement savings at these critical junctures in your life.

How to Start Saving for Retirement at 20

At age 20, you might not be giving much thought to your retirement. At this point in your life, you have likely just entered the workforce or are gearing up to do so, and retirement seems like a faraway notion.

Your 20s is the right time to start laying the foundation for your retirement. What are the building blocks for that foundation? Here are three of them.

  1. If you can sign up for your employer-sponsored 401(k) retirement, you should explore this popular option for retirement savings. In some cases, your employer might even match the money you chip in.
  2. What if your employer doesn’t offer a 401(k)? In this case, you might consider opening a Roth IRA. The money you put into a Roth IRA has already been taxed, so you’re able to withdraw money tax-free when the time comes. Even if you can’t stash the maximum amount allowed each year by the IRS, try to set aside as much money as possible in your Roth IRA.
  3. Start an emergency fund. As a rule of thumb, an emergency fund should contain enough money to cover three to six months’ worth of living expenses. Setting up an emergency fund can help prevent you from tapping into your retirement funds when an emergency arises, such as an unexpected car repair or an unanticipated hospital stay.

How to Start Saving for Retirement at 30

When you hit your 30s, you want your retirement-savings journey to be well underway.

By this time, you may be earning more than you did in your 20s, so you might look at stepping up your retirement savings. This is particularly important if you’re married, have children, or own a home—or all three. Here are three retirement-savings steps you might take when you reach your 30s.

  1. If you’ve signed up for your employer’s 401(k) program, make sure you’re contributing the maximum amount allowed each year by the IRS.
  2. Still don’t have an IRA? Check out the benefits of opening a traditional or Roth IRA. Unlike a Roth IRA, the money you put into a traditional IRA typically isn’t taxed, but subsequent withdrawals are taxed. Once you’ve opened an IRA, review your contributions to ensure you’re setting aside the maximum amount permitted each year by the IRS.
  3. Look at your asset allocation. Are you aggressively allocating assets to fully take advantage of growth opportunities? If not, you might want to mix things up. You may even want to consider diversifying your portfolio with gold or other precious metals.

How to Start Saving for Retirement at 40

Before you know it, you’ll be celebrating your 40th birthday. A birthday gift you can give yourself is a deep dive, perhaps with the help of a financial advisor, into your retirement strategy.

In going over your retirement strategy, consider the fact that your 40s might be when you ascend to the heights of your earning potential. As such, it’s vital to sharpen your retirement strategy. Here are three ways to do that.

  1. Reduce your debt. At this stage, you may have racked up a pile of credit card debt, particularly if you have kids in college. Chances are you’re paying interest on this debt—interest that can quickly reach double-digit territory. This debt and interest can erode your ability to save for retirement. You can allocate more money for your 401(k), IRA, or other retirement savings vehicles by slashing your debt.
  2. Reexamine 401(k) and IRA contributions. Are you allocating as much as you can to your 401(k) and IRA plans? If not, see whether there’s something you can cut from your budget to free up money for retirement.
  3. Analyze your asset allocation. Is your portfolio weighted too much toward one asset type and too little toward another? As part of this analysis, consider adding gold or other precious metals to your portfolio to help balance things out. One option for purchasing gold and other precious metals is a self-directed precious metals IRA, enabling you to buy IRS-approved alternative assets.

How to Start Saving for Retirement at 50

If saving for retirement were the Kentucky Derby, your 50s would represent the final stretch. At this point, you might be enjoying a comfortable lifestyle, but you should ask yourself whether you have enough retirement savings to maintain that way of life. To get on the right retirement track, weigh the following three moves.

  1. Review your assets. How much money have you stashed in your 401(k), IRA, or other retirement accounts? Is it enough to guarantee the type of retirement you’re dreaming about? If you’re short of your goals, don’t despair. The IRS lets you bump up annual contributions to your 401(k) and IRA when you’re 50 or older.
  2. Tackle your debt. Any form of debt can drag down your ability to boost your retirement savings. For instance, your 50s might be a good time to step up your mortgage payments so that you’ll be free of this financial burden when you’re ready to retire.
  3. Scrutinize your asset allocation. This close to retirement, you might want to be less aggressive with your strategy for growing your portfolio. You also should check your asset allocation to see whether your portfolio is well-diversified. For instance, you may want to look at purchasing gold or other precious metals to improve diversification in safe-haven assets that protect against inflation and market swings.

It’s always a good time to put away more for the future. Call U.S. Money Reserve today to see how you can boost your retirement portfolio with the power of precious metals.


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