Knowledge Center

Tips for Investing During Life’s Different Stages and Ages

investing-my-money | Read Time: 3 minutes

By Steve Dunn | Published: January 2021

Investing During Life’s Stages

Is it too late to save for retirement?

While you would ideally start saving for retirement when you earn your first paycheck, that’s not reality for most Americans.

There may be many reasons for being unable to save for retirement, including having experienced financial hardship for a year or more, having to take time off from work to be a caregiver, or having accumulated medical or college debt.

No matter the setback, many people have much more time to save than they think they do. It is never too late to begin saving money for your retirement.

In your 30s?
If you begin saving for your retirement in your 30s, you may have 30 years or more to grow your nest egg. During this time in your life, you may face many headwinds that can make it difficult to save for retirement. A mortgage, student loans, having children and the possibility of credit card debt may be factors in how much you can save for retirement.

The goal is to get the power of compound interest working for your retirement account(s) as soon as possible. Consider contributing to a tax-sheltered retirement vehicle such as a 401(k), traditional IRA, or Roth IRA to begin funding your retirement savings.

Ask your employer if they offer a retirement savings plan that matches a portion of the contributions you would make from your paycheck. If they do, consider saving at least the minimum amount to receive the full match. Don’t leave money on the table!

While saving for retirement should be your priority, you may also want to consider funding a 529 college savings plan to assist in paying for your child’s college education or tuition at any elementary or secondary school. Leaning on a 529 plan can make educational expenses much more affordable than paying for them using alternative funding methods and save you from having to dip into retirement savings to help pay for your child’s educational expenses.

In your 40s?
If you haven’t had the opportunity to begin saving for retirement in your 30s, with some discipline and hard work, you can start investing for retirement at age 40 and still retire a millionaire. Let’s say you contribute $13,000 each year to your 401(k) plan from age 40 to 65.

If your employer matches the first 3% of your contributions and you receive a 7% annual rate of return on your investment portfolio, at age 65 you will have accumulated $1,049,956!

In your 50s?
If you did not make saving for retirement a priority early in your career, it’s still not too late to catch up.

At age 50 you can start making extra “catch-up” contributions to your retirement account(s). Employees over age 50 that have access to a 401(k) plan can contribute an extra $6,500 from their paychecks each year, bringing the maximum amount that they can contribute to $26,000 for 2020 ($19,500 + $6,500). This presents a tremendous tax savings opportunity for employees who would like to pay less taxes both today and (potentially) later in their retirement years.

Another strategy to consider helping you catch up is contributing the maximum amount each year to a Roth IRA. Let’s say you contribute $7,000 a year to a Roth IRA from ages 50-65. After 15 years, you could accumulate a sum of $188,216 tax-free at age 65 (assuming a 7% annual rate of return).

Given the complex nature of retirement plan contribution matches, taxes, compound interest, age limitations, and the different types of accounts to consider, it’s wise to work with a financial advisor to help you map out a financial plan for your future. This is especially true if you’re just starting your retirement plan in your 40s or 50s.

About the Author – Steve Dunn
Steve Dunn is a Financial Advisor with WSFS Wealth Investments and has been in the financial services industry for 10 years. He graduated from West Chester University with a B.S. in Business Management and has his M.B.A. from Wilmington University. He holds FINRA Series 6, 7, 63, and 65 securities registrations and is appointed to do business in the states of DE, FL, MD, NC, NJ, NY, PA, TX and VA. Steve can be reached at


The financial advisors of WSFS Wealth Investments offer securities and advisory services through Commonwealth Financial Network®, member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. Investments are not insured by the FDIC and are not deposits or other obligations of, or guaranteed by, any depository institution. Funds are subject to investment risks, including possible loss of principal investment. WSFS Bank is not a registered broker-dealer or Registered Investment Adviser. WSFS Bank and Commonwealth are separate and unaffiliated entities. Fixed Insurance products and services are offered through WSFS Wealth Investments or CES Insurance Agency.

Advisor Timing: When Should I Hire a Wealth Partner?

Advisor Timing: When Should I Hire a Wealth Partner?

Do you like to “dabble” in the stock market? Get a “hot tip” at a cocktail party? Read about a new technology or promising new drug and decide to take a “flyer” on its stock? It may be fun to do this with extra cash you may have, but do you have a long-term investing plan?

Read More
Tips for Rolling Over Your 401(k)

Tips for Rolling Over Your 401(k): 4 Potential Options

In the shifting landscape that is today’s labor market, Americans are changing jobs more frequently. It tends to happen for a myriad of reasons, from mergers and acquisitions, life events or just looking for a new opportunity.

Read More
Young Investors: Time Is On Your Side

Young Investors: The Benefits of Investing Early for Retirement

With age comes wisdom, but in investing, it is wise to invest before you age. In a recent WSFS Wealth survey of consumers in the greater Philadelphia region and Delaware, two-thirds of young people (67%) are concerned about outliving their money.

Read More
Investing in Financial Markets Through the Ups and Down

Investing in Financial Markets Through the Ups and Down

The resilience of the stock market during the pandemic is one of the more remarkable stories in this most unprecedented of years. Despite COVID-19, a recession, social unrest and natural disasters, the Dow Jones Industrial average is up significantly since it cratered in March.

Read More
How to Choose the Right Financial Advisor for You

How to Choose the Right Financial Advisor for You

Most Americans believe in managing their own money. While that is ok for some, for others, they may find themselves lost and unprepared for retirement. What often bridges the gap between financial freedom in retirement and those unprepared for life’s financial challenges is an Advisor.

Read More