Building a nest egg: How people can use their 40s and 50s to plan for retirement

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) — Wednesday’s rally in the stock market served as a bright spot for what’s been an otherwise down year, which has coincided with inflation hitting 40-year highs.

“(It) definitely has impacted. There’s less in the budget for recreational activities, and our trips have probably been a little bit shortened,” said Nestor Rodriguez, who is in his 40s and lives in Raleigh.

Still, passenger numbers at RDU hit record-highs, as pent-up travel demand has surged. It’s not the only notable lifestyle decision stemming from the pandemic, as workers are seeking opportunities with new companies and new industries at higher rates.

“I certainly think people are open to hearing and seeing more. People no longer stay with companies for their entire careers anymore. A lot of time, turnover every three, four, five years is not unusual. And I think hiring authorities are seeing that more now,” said Taylor Myers, a Senior Account Executive with Management Recruiters of Raleigh.

A report from Visier found workers in their 40s saw a bigger year-over-year jump in quit rates in the first quarter this year versus the same time period last year compared to those in their 30s. In seven of the first eight months of 2021, quit rates were higher across the board than in the previous two years.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in the second quarter of 2021, the two age ranges with the highest weekly earnings were 45-54, followed by 55 to 64; the biggest age range jump in salary was from 25-34 to 35-44.

“They’re probably at their highest expense years as well. And the reason is, we tend to live in the lifestyle we get accustomed to. We have the bigger house, we have the nicer car. But we also have other things, either children entering college or in college,” explained Nick Pino, a financial planner with Capitol Financial Solutions in Raleigh explained.

While expenses are often elevated, there is one form of lingering debt that many are able to shed: student loans. A report from Education Data Initiative found 34% of people younger than 30, and 28% of 30-39 year old’s have student loan debt, compared to just 13% of those in their 40s, and 12.5% of those in their 50s.

While Pino understands people’s desires to make a big purchase, he urged them to look at their situation to understand the long-term possibilities.

“How is this going to impact the plan? Are we being responsible in these decisions, before we just shoot at the hip and say ‘yeah, I’d like to buy that?”

During years of greatest earning power, especially if you delayed starting your savings journey, utilizing retirement accounts can offer different tax advantages.

“At age 50, you’re able to do a catch-up. And so you’re able to put more money into your 401K and your IRA’s or what have you. And obviously, if the lifestyle allows it, we would absolutely push people to do that,” Pino said.

Those catch-up contributions allow people to contribute up to an additional $6,500 to your 401K and up to $1,000 in your IRA.

Fidelity suggests aiming to save three times your salary by the time you’re 40, and six times your salary by the time you’re 50.

If you’re interested in how people in their 20s and 30s are navigating inflation and planning for the future, click here.

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