Can you believe that almost half (48%) of American households over the age of 55 still have no retirement savings? Even so, it’s better than previous years, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
CNBC’s article, “These people are on the verge of retiring—and they have nothing saved,” says that the congressional watchdog group based its conclusions on an analysis of the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances.
In 2013, roughly 52% of households over age 55 had zero saved for retirement. While the over-55 crowd may have a big savings shortfall to make up, there are steps they can take. Let’s look at what they need to do.
Catch up on contributions to retirement plans: Workers can defer up to $19,000 in a 401(k) plan at work. Those employees who are over 50, can save an extra $6,000. Older savers can also sock away more money in an IRA, since the contribution limit for IRAs is $6,000 in 2019. people who are 50 and up, can save an additional $1,000.
Increase the funds in your health savings account: If you’re still working and have a high-deductible health plan at work, you most likely have access to a health savings account or HSA. HSA’s have a triple tax advantage: (i) you contribute money on a pretax or tax-deductible basis; (ii) your savings will accumulate tax-free; and (iii) you can take tax-free withdrawals to pay for qualified medical expenses. In 2019, participants with self-only health insurance can contribute $3,500. Those with family plans can save $7,000. Account holders age 55 and older can save an extra $1,000 in an HSA.
However, remember that when you’re enrolled in Medicare, you can no longer contribute to your HSA. However, you can use those funds to cover health-care costs in retirement.
Work a little longer and generate income: You could earn money from a part-time job to increase your income and ramp up your retirement savings.
If you get a raise, throw most of it into your savings account. If you get a raise to your pay at work, save two-thirds of it. Increase your 401(k) deferrals, so that you're saving more of that pay increase.
Living on less than you make, is something that many people don’t learn until late in life—but as long as you are working, you can save.
Reference: CNBC (April 5, 2019) “These people are on the verge of retiring —and they have nothing saved”