Key takeaways

  1. 75% of Americans have financial regret, with 21%'s top regret being not saving enough for retirement
  2. It's never too late to catch up on retirement savings regardless of age
  3. Free up funds by lowering auto and home costs, switch insurance plans, and consolidate high-interest credit cards
  4. Max out workplace retirement plans such as 401(k)s and 403(b)s
  5. Generate additional income through a side hustle
  6. Consider pushing back your retirement date to get a bump in benefits and give investments more time to grow

You put in the work and saved when you could, but you’re still coming up short on your retirement savings goals.

You wonder if it’s too late to play catch-up. You start to compare yourself to others, then regret sets in, and you become overwhelmed with guilt and anxiety.

Sound familiar?

You’re not alone. According to a recent Bankrate study, approximately 75% of Americans have some form of financial regret, with 21% placing failing to save enough for retirement at the top of their list. 

The good news is it’s never too late to catch up on retirement, regardless of age. Sure, the closer you are to retirement age, the harder it might be. But with the right guidance and determination, it’s pretty amazing what you can accomplish in a small amount of time. 

Follow these tips to boost your retirement savings in your 40’s, 50’s, or 60s. 

Understand how you got here

At Facet, we’re big on mitigating risks, so they never happen in the first place. However, we understand that certain life events can sometimes derail even our best-laid plans in an instant.

It’s important first to acknowledge what is holding you back from reaching your retirement goals so you can avoid making the same mistake in the future. 

Here are a few reasons your retirement savings goals might be off-track:

  • You started saving too late 
  • You haven’t started saving yet
  • You took an early withdrawal from one or more retirement accounts
  • You had an unexpected major expense and no emergency fund 
  • You invested poorly and suffered significant losses 

These are just a few of the countless reasons why your retirement savings might be lagging. Once you identify the root cause, you can start putting in the work to create a plan that suits your specific needs. 

How to catch up on retirement savings in your 40s, 50s, and 60s

1. Take a hard look at your entire financial picture

It’s easy to turn a blind eye to your finances when you lack confidence. But to understand how fast you can catch up on your retirement goals, you must first know what factors will affect your progress the most. So take note of the following:

  • Monthly income (net of income taxes)
  • Mandatory monthly expenses (mortgage/rent, car payment, insurance, etc.)
  • Potential for career growth at your current job
  • Discretionary expenses

By determining this, you gain the power to establish financial planning goals and start allocating a portion of each paycheck toward retirement.

2. Find ways to save

Now that you know where your monthly income is going, it’s time to redirect some resources. Start with setting a savings goal and then start looking for savings opportunities. 

Some may be easy, others will involve making trade-offs, but that’s okay. Remember, the end goal is to retire with the financial freedom you deserve.

Here are a few ways to start saving some extra cash to reach your retirement planning needs:

  • Decrease car expenses: You may be able to get a lower rate on your current loan, or you can consider downsizing to lower your monthly payments. 
  • Lower housing costs: Whether refinancing your mortgage to a lower rate or moving to a lower-rent area, you can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.
  • Switch insurance plans: Insurance companies are constantly competing with each other. Take advantage of this by shopping around for the best deal.
  • Consolidate high-interest credit cards: If you have multiple cards with high interest rates, it may be worth consolidating them into one lower-rate payment.

Sometimes, the biggest savings are found in small changes. Just remember that every penny counts when it comes to retirement savings, and the more you invest now, the better your future will look.

Related: How to rebuild credit: 8 tips to improve a bad credit score

Related: Investing or paying off mortgage: What’s the right choice for you?

3. Max out those retirement plans

Easier said than done, right? 

If you’re like most people, it might feel impossible to max your retirement contributions on top of saving for other short- and long-term objectives. 

But if you’re serious about catching up on retirement savings, this is the first step to get you there. 

If you have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, take advantage of it. Employer-sponsored retirement plans like 401(k)s and 403(b)s come with incredible wealth-building features such as an employer match (free money) and tax-deductible contributions. 

Best of all, you can contribute quite a lot to a workplace retirement plan plan. For example, in 2023, you can contribute up to $22,500 to your 401(k). If you’re over 50, you can take advantage of “catch-up contributions” and invest an additional $7,500.

Related: 403(b) vs 401(k): What is the difference between retirement plans?

On top of your employee contributions at work, you can also sock away extra savings in a tax-advantaged retirement account like a traditional individual retirement account (IRA) or a Roth IRA. In 2023, you can contribute (pre-tax money) up to $6,500 if you’re under 50 and $7,500 if you’re 50+.

Related: What is an IRA? Individual Retirement Account explained

4. Generate additional income

If you’re truly serious about ramping up your retirement savings, try to generate additional income. It doesn’t have to be a full-time job. You can start by selling some of your unused possessions or selling services through freelance platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr. 

Another great option is to start a side hustle that allows you to maintain your current job while still making extra money. Platforms like Etsy can be great for creating and selling handmade items, while apps like Airbnb and Turo allow you to rent out your home or car.

It may sound overwhelming, but remember the goal here: to grab hold of your financial future so you can retire with peace of mind. 

5. Delay your retirement date

Of course, this is the least exciting tip on the list, but a very important one nonetheless, especially if you like your job and are in good health. 

Working longer allows you to continue contributing to your retirement plan while simultaneously giving you more time for your investments to grow and your interest to compound. 

Delaying your Social Security benefits can help, too. You can delay filing until age 70 and receive a bump in your benefits. 

Related: Compound interest: Supercharge your savings

Final word 

Retirement doesn’t have to be an impossible dream. With the right plan and a willingness to make changes, you can boost your retirement savings at any age.

The key is to start small and stay focused on the long-term goal: financial freedom in your golden years. Take it one step at a time and think of it as an investment in your future. That way, you’re less likely to give up when things get tough and more likely to come out a success.

To learn how Facet’s team of experts can help you retire with the peace of mind you deserve, click below.