Did you know that the median 401(k) balance for those aged 50 – 59 is $53,400? Median means that $53,400 is the midpoint. Half have more and half have less than $53,400. That’s pretty sad if you ask me. Mindy Fetterman at USA Today has written a piece titled Facing Woes In Retirement? Catch-up Moves Can Help detailing some options available to those who are 50 and older.
For 2006, most people over 50 can contribute up $20,000 to their 401(k) plan ($15,000 standard contribution + $5,000 catch-up contribution). Of course you need to check with your company’s human resources department to make sure your plan doesn’t have lower limits. Remember that these catch-up provisions may end if Congress doesn’t extend them past 2010. I can’t imagine that Congress won’t extend them but you should at least be taking advantage of them while you know they are there.
My advice for those over 50 is to not lose heart. Save as much as you can. Don’t let your lack of savings keep you from saving more. Every little bit helps.