13 Ways To Boost Your Savings After Your Peak Earning Years

Master the art of saving after reaching your highest earning potential.

retirement savings clock ticking
Updated July 18, 2024
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Life doesn’t always go according to plan. You may find yourself playing catch-up on retirement savings in your 50s or 60s rather than making an immediate plan to spend your golden years on the beach.

But just because you’re behind on building wealth doesn’t mean you can’t catch up. Even if you’re past your peak earning age, here are 13 savings tips to get you back on track.

Eliminate your late tax debt

Each year, the IRS forgives millions in unpaid taxes. If you have more than $10,000 in tax debt, or have 3+ years of unfiled taxes, you could get forgiveness too. You might be eligible to lower the amount you owe, or eliminate your tax debt completely.

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Look at your spending

dodotone/Adobe shopping via online application

It seems simple, but sometimes the only way to save more money is to cut spending. Look at your spending and see if there’s anywhere you can pull back. 

Do you still need to spend the same on clothing in your current role as you did at the peak of your career? Could you pick up cooking at home as a retirement hobby?

Use the full employer 401(k) match

Tada Images/Adobe the 401(K) plans page

If you’re fortunate enough to have an employer 401(k) match, you should fill it out to the maximum amount to meet that match. 

Every dollar you (and your employer) put in there will have the opportunity to grow, even if it’s for a shorter amount of time than you’d initially hoped.

Take advantage of the Saver’s Credit

Olivier Le Moal/Adobe mortgage broker‎. saving money

The government wants to reward you for saving for retirement, particularly if you have a middle- or low-income. Based on your retirement contributions, you could be eligible for the Saver’s Credit, a tax credit worth up to $1,000.

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Lock in a CD at today’s rates

kerkezz/Adobe consulting with a financial manager

With some rates over 5.00%, a CD is a smart way to stretch your retirement savings without tying them up in the stock market. 

You can put cash in a CD and access it at the end of the term while also taking advantage of an interest rate that’s better than a standard savings account. Consider a CD ladder to add flexibility to your savings.

Automate your savings

sebra/Adobe businesspeople discussion advisor

The most important part of saving is remembering to do it. If you’re past your peak earning years, don’t find yourself wondering where your planned savings went at the end of every month. 

Instead, automate that amount directly from your paycheck so you don’t have a chance to spend it.

Consider a Roth IRA

Vitalii Vodolazskyi/Adobe roth ira vs traditional ira

While there are some income limits on Roth IRAs, you may be eligible, particularly if you’re past your peak earning years. 

You can save up to $7,000 annually in a Roth IRA, which is post-tax savings that grow tax-free. If you’re over 50 years old, you can contribute an additional $1,000 annually.

Look at investment fees

ipopba/Adobe analyzing data stock market

When you’re past your peak earning years, you want to maximize every dollar. If you’re paying 1% in investment fees, you could be losing a significant chunk of change every year.

Consider a high-yield savings account

Vitalii Vodolazskyi/Adobe high yield savings account

You can’t afford to leave cash sitting in your regular checking account if you’re trying to save extra for retirement. Consider transferring your cash to a top high-yield savings account to take advantage of high interest rates.

Maximize your deductions

Ramil Gibadullin/Adobe female hand and tax form

Deductions can save you a lot of money if you know how to leverage them, so don’t automatically assume a standard deduction is the way to go. 

Even if you earn less than in past years, you may have deductions, like business expenses, charitable giving, or mortgage interest — and those add up.

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This is all thanks to compound interest — the earlier in life you start putting money into this type of account, the more you can earn over time. As Ben Franklin put it, “Money makes money. And the money that money makes, makes money.” Bam.

Let’s say you put $50,000 into a high yield account at 5.00% APY at 30-years-old. Then, you contribute $5,000 a year, every year, until age 50. With interest compounding daily at that rate, you’d walk away with $303,466.67! But … if you start at age 45, you’d only have $91,898.37.

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Downsize your residence

lordn/Adobe cardboard boxes

Whether you have children who have moved out or simply have less inclination to take care of a few thousand square feet, downsizing your residence is one of the easiest ways to make a major impact on your retirement savings, regardless of income. 

Plus, you’ll save money on utilities when there’s less space to heat, cool, and light.

Rent out extra space

Andy Dean/Adobe for rent sign outside house

If you have an extra room or two in your home, consider renting it out to a long-term or short-term renter. 

This can bring in extra income that will help you continue to grow your retirement savings and make you feel more comfortable even when your W2 earnings have decreased.

Delay Social Security

gunnar3000/Adobe social security benefits form

Barring a shorter life expectancy, the longer you delay your Social Security payments, the better. Once you reach full retirement age, continue delaying your payments, and you’ll receive delayed retirement credits (up until age 70), increasing your eventual benefit.

Get a side hustle

Vitalii Vodolazskyi/Adobe money from side gig

A side hustle can not only add to your pre-retirement income but also give you a part-time source of income to continue into retirement. It could be a hobby you’ve turned into a business, or you could join the gig economy to make extra money.

Bottom line

Day Of Victory Stu./Adobe couple walking on the beach

Perhaps the most obvious way to continue saving for retirement when you’re past your peak earning age is to continue working and postpone your retirement date.

If you still feel healthy and able, squeezing a few more years out of your working years can make a big difference in saving for retirement. Plus, you have decades of expertise to offer the workforce and your younger colleagues.

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Heather Bien

Heather Bien is a writer covering personal finance and budgeting and how those relate to life, travel, entertaining, and more. With bylines that include The Spruce, Apartment Therapy, and mindbodygreen, she's covered everything from tax tips for freelancers to budgeting hacks to how to get the highest ROI out of your home renovations.