Retirement Savings Strategies for Late Starters

How to prepare for retirement beginning after age 50.

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[See 21 Ways to Cut Expenses in Retirement.]

Factor in a part-time job. If you're willing to work part time in retirement, you don't need to save as much, assuming you can find and keep a job. Just over a quarter of Americans between ages 65 and 72 were still working in 2008, according to the Census Bureau. Some 60 percent of the older workers were employed full time and 40 percent worked less than 35 hours a week.

Don't chase returns. Some people who haven't saved enough for retirement try to invest their way to their retirement goals. But the risk of failure using this strategy is high. "You really shouldn't take on additional risk and try to make it up that way," says Long. "There's no way you are going to be able to make some smart investment and play the game really well and make up for not saving." Chasing returns generally hasn't paid off for investors over the past decade, according to recent Fidelity 401(k) data. What has boosted 401(k) account balances is long-term participation in a retirement account, a diversified portfolio, and obtaining an employer match.