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If You’re Turning 50, Uncle Sam Says It’s Time to Celebrate

Photo of author, Teresa Michaels, CFP®.
Teresa Michaels, CFP®
Financial Strategist and Regional Manager

It seems like yesterday that I graduated from West Virginia University — a wide-eyed 21-year-old heading into the real world to make a difference. And now, here I am at the 50-year-old milestone – an actual quinquagenarian, according to Webster’s Dictionary.

How did I get to today? I have a daughter that has successfully graduated from Ohio University graduate school and a son navigating his own way through my alma mater as an undergraduate. Surely it should have clicked in my head that I too was aging. But like most moms, I was focused on my kids’ happiness and bright futures, never really stopping to consider my own aging.

Like so many, I now find myself constantly asking, “Where did the time go?”

Interestingly, it was Uncle Sam who reminded me that I was going to turn 50 in 2017. In early 2017, I had received the quarterly e-mail from my employer’s human resource department requesting any changes to my personal elections for the employee-sponsored 401(k) retirement plan. The form, as a standard, offers to all employees who are eligible the opportunity to participate in the catch-up contribution provision of the 401(k) plan.

At that moment, I felt a huge smile cross my face as I realized that I was turning 50 in 2017 and was now officially eligible to take advantage of this significant retirement planning opportunity!

What is the catch-up contribution provision? The IRS allows for additional contributions UP TO an additional $6,000 to your employer savings plan. Just imagine: If you simply added $1,000 more per year for the next 15 years and earned 6.5% per year, you would have over $24,500 additional retirement dollars in your account.

Working in the financial planning field, I know how important it is to make everyone aware of the many ways one can prepare and save for retirement. Accepting Uncle Sam’s generous gift of the additional catch-up provision is one simple way to successfully plan for your retirement and reach your “good life” goals.

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