All may not be lost for those people who are well into their fifties and have not begun saving for retirement, but it is going to take some serious sacrifices for the next five to 10 years, says Christine Fahlund, a T. Rowe Price senior financial planner.
T. Rowe Price recently laid out ways a 55-year-old making $80,000 a year can still put aside $345,000 to $444,000 in tax-deferred savings for retirement.
"It is a realistic goal that can be accomplished, but they have to know there will be no trips, no eating out, no buying a new car for five or 10 years," warns Fahlund.
Starting from zero dollars, a person can contribute to a 401(k) plan a maximum amount of $16,500 plus an additional $5,500 that is allowed as a "catch up" contribution each year. Based on an employer matching 3% of the of the employee's first 6% of contribution, that saver would have $444,610 in tax-deferred savings at age 65. He will have been putting aside 27.5% of his salary for 10 years.
In various other combinations of maximum contribution and/or maximum catch-up contribution for five or 10 years, with the standard 6% of salary matched by 3% from the employer, savers can accumulate $345,000 to $401,000, T. Rowe Price says. A person who contributes 6% of salary with a 3% match from the employer would accumulate $147,000 in 10 years.
"People who have avoided saving until now are going to find they cannot avoid it any longer," Fahlund said. "Saving now still may not preclude needing a part-time job after retirement, but they won't have to have a full time job.
"Some of these couples just came off paying for their
children's college, so that money can now go to retirement," she adds. "They
would have been better off flipping it and saving for retirement first, then
college, but they didn't."