Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

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Morik
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby Morik » Sat Oct 24, 2015 10:45 pm

I was 30 or 31 when we started maxing out (in 2013).

Have been working since 24 or so (well, had jobs before that, but things like fast food, etc. Never saved anything from them)
Just recently maxing out as much as possible with:
- 18k 401k
- 26k after-tax 401k
- 5.5k roth IRA backdoor
- 6.5k HSA (2k of it provided by employer)

And wife with:
- 18k 403b
- 5.5k roth IRA backdoor

Add in around $13k in employer matches and its a lot saved.

Prior to that (2012 and before) we were just doing 18k to my 401k, and her 403b up to the match.
We weren't doing roths or after-tax 401k, and my wife was only doing up to the match. (So saving maybe $35k with matches, now saving $93k or so)
We also had an advisor. The most recent advisor was 2013-2014 and we found out about after-tax 401k through him. Then I found Bogleheads and decided to go it on my own. (Learned about backdoor roth & HSA via Bogleheads.)
Last edited by Morik on Sat Oct 24, 2015 11:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TheMokaPot
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby TheMokaPot » Sat Oct 24, 2015 11:02 pm

I maxed out my Roth when I was 21 years old, when I started working all year.

Now I'm 22 and w/ my first job, I'm set to max out my 401(k) and Roth IRA by my last pay period of 2015. With how much my job is kind of meh, I think I'm even more resolved to save so that I can switch jobs without worrying about finances as much or just retire early.

Ron Ronnerson
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby Ron Ronnerson » Sat Oct 24, 2015 11:16 pm

I probably never will. I do max a 457b ($18k) and Roth IRA ($5500) and also contribute 9% of salary (will increase to 10% of salary next year) toward a pension. I have a 403b available with excellent, low-cost funds that I just don't see the point in contributing to as the pension alone is expected to cover most if not all of our retirement expenses. This also doesn't include my wife's retirement savings. Sometimes I'm tempted to start contributing in a 403b as well but so far I've been successful in talking myself down.

bonn
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby bonn » Sat Oct 24, 2015 11:22 pm

Maxed out the first time at 31. My income tripled around 30, so that helped.

ellsbebc
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby ellsbebc » Sat Oct 24, 2015 11:27 pm

Wife and I both started maxing 401k's ($18k each) and Roth IRA's ($5.5k each) at age 26. This was all possible because our income jumped to $135k gross and had no student loans.

DVMResident
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby DVMResident » Sun Oct 25, 2015 12:23 am

Maxing out retirement accounts is the wrong focus.
Saving rates vs expected consumption is the important bit.

Some people who have high spending need more savings than their tax-advantaged accounts can hold and spill into taxable space.
For other people it's the opposite is true and they have way more space than they need. This is especially common with employees with pensions.

We're in our mid-30's and still not maxing out our space because we have a mega-backdoor 401(k) option ($53k/yr) and 2 backdoor ROTH IRAs. Way more space than we need.

Bearloom
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby Bearloom » Sun Oct 25, 2015 3:00 am

I've been maxing out my Roth IRA for a few years now, and I'm going to be close to maxing out my 401k this year at 27. I'll still be a few thousand dollars short, but considering I only make 42k it's still a moral victory.

In other news: hooray for ultra-LCOL areas.

SJCX
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby SJCX » Sun Oct 25, 2015 5:48 am

About 5 years ago for me and my wife(39 at the time). Around the same time I paid off my house and became debt free.

Also invest into a taxable account

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Sents
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby Sents » Sun Oct 25, 2015 5:48 am

I started maxing out my rIRA at age 21. I've never been eligible for 401K contributions yet and these days I'm not even eligible for roth IRA contributions (darn postdoctoral fellowship...).
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Scotttheking
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby Scotttheking » Sun Oct 25, 2015 7:28 am

24 except for a one year reduction when we bought a house. Probably 24 for the wife as well.

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Marmot
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby Marmot » Sun Oct 25, 2015 7:32 am

Around 31 or 32. Wife graduated law school then, we had lots of debts (school, car, mortgage, pool loan, owed my parents 10K) , but we made maxing out all retirement vehicles the main priority. I ER'ed at 58, wife at 55. Now we are just doing our thing....that is whatever we want, when we want.

RadAudit
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby RadAudit » Sun Oct 25, 2015 7:41 am

I never maxed out the 401(k)
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cherijoh
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby cherijoh » Sun Oct 25, 2015 7:54 am

livesoft wrote:We always maxed out retirement accounts since when we got jobs. But that doesn't mean much because back in the 1980's the contribution limits were so low compared to nowadays.


Livesoft is right - you can't compare now vs. then.

As soon as I was eligible for the plan, I started at 5% to get the match. I was maxing out within a few years - every time I got a raise I bumped up my contribution. But back then it wasn't uncommon to get a 6 - 12% raise each year, so it was much easier to increase your contribution without really feeling it in your pocketbook. At that time there was no Roth IRA.

psychodoc
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby psychodoc » Sun Oct 25, 2015 7:54 am

roth ira since age 18

didn't have access to 401k until age 24, but couldn't max that for another 8 years, now max since 32. spouse with only ira access, however

Buckeye
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby Buckeye » Sun Oct 25, 2015 8:43 am

Only ever maxed out one year... and we were in our early 40's.

randomguy
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby randomguy » Sun Oct 25, 2015 10:07 am

Watty wrote:For perspective;

Up until 2001 the IRA contribution limit was only $2,000 and 401Ks were pretty rare until about then too.

Up until the mid 1990's IRA contributions for a non-working spouse were limited to $250.

Even adjusted for inflation it was not terribly hard to "max out" your retirement accounts back then.

I recently retired and am doing fine but there the are a lot of people my age and older that didn't have many good retirement savings options other than taxable accounts for most of their careers and many pension plans were frozen years ago.


There were also lower caps on the amount you could contribute to a 401(k). BAck then few places let you go over 15%(every place I have seen since the mid 00s lets you go to almost 100%) so I was only able to get to like 8k out of the 9k until I got a raise. And even better without a ROTHs there wasn't any point in doing nondeductible IRAs. Basically it means I ended up with a bunch of taxable. In todaysw world, ideally all that money would have ended up in a ROTH after doing the megaback door roth. Oh well.

Traveler
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby Traveler » Sun Oct 25, 2015 4:39 pm

Maxed out 401K at about 38 or 39 and continue to do so. I'd put $30K+ a year in if the government would let me. I'd love to reduce my tax liability right now.

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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Sun Oct 25, 2015 5:14 pm

Age 26 - $2,000 maximum permitted in IRA's. No 401k available, used taxable accounts plus $2K IRA maximum to equal 15% of gross pay. It hurt back then, my discretionary income was much lower than that of my peers. Have been saving at least 15% of gross for retirement ever since.
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GoldenFinch
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby GoldenFinch » Sun Oct 25, 2015 5:17 pm

Forty-four and we are 49.

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Go Blue 99
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby Go Blue 99 » Mon Oct 26, 2015 10:28 am

38 now and have never maxed out. We probably could, but have no desire to cut back on lifestyle.

However I have been saving since 23 and at a healthy % for most of those years.

icefr
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby icefr » Mon Oct 26, 2015 11:06 am

I maxed out my Roth IRA and contributed enough to get the match on my pre-tax 401(k) at 22, started maxing out my pre-tax 401(k) at 23, and then this year at 27 started maxing out the after-tax 401(k) as well. I'm going to be plenty set for retirement at this rate!

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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby 2Birds1Stone » Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:12 pm

Started full time career at age 24 in 2012

Maxed out Roth IRA for 2011 till present.
Did 401k up to match till 2013 where I started contributing 20% of income.

This year I will add in a maxed out HSA account.

I realize I am very fortunate compared to my peers, on track to have 3-4 years salary put away before the age of 30.

The Wizard
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby The Wizard » Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:36 pm

I didn't max out my 403(b) until around age 58, when the second kid finished college.
But I made healthy contributions to it starting day 1 of employment, age 23...
Attempted new signature...

Confused
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby Confused » Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:41 pm

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stoptothink
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby stoptothink » Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:48 pm

I was able to do it for several years in my 20's, starting at about age 23. Now, married with two kids; despite income which is nearly triple what I was making then, we are not both able to do it. We do max Roth IRAs and both put 10% in our 401ks - maybe in a few years when those pesky $1500/month childcare bills go away and we are no longer stuffing cash away for a home (this should be done by the end of the year).

IlliniDave
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby IlliniDave » Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:48 pm

I think once or twice it happened in my later 30s, due to working a lot of overtime. I stuck with 12% deferral from my mid-20s until mid-40s, except for one or two years I lowered it slightly for other financial priorities. It wasn't until mid-forties that I started to hit contribution limits systematically.
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aj44
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby aj44 » Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:12 pm

4 years ago we started maxing 401k/Roth IRA/HSA at 31.

SGM
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby SGM » Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:52 pm

After graduate school at age 30 I began to maximize accounts. IRA max was only 2k. My employer had a very generous matching program for what was the equivalent of a 401k, but it was restricted to company stock ownership and I always maxed out anyway.

chrisr0916
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby chrisr0916 » Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:54 pm

23 now and at the end of this month my fiancee and I will have maxed out her roth (maxed mine in June). Our goal is to max out both our 401ks every year by 25. We were both fortunate enough not to have college loans. And just as fortunate to have stumbled across mr. money mustache / this blog.

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HomerJ
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby HomerJ » Mon Oct 26, 2015 2:04 pm

sport wrote:Most people do not earn enough to max out all available retirement accounts. You should consider yourself fortunate.


This.

For 95% of Americans, the answer will be never.

downshiftme
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby downshiftme » Mon Oct 26, 2015 2:46 pm

For many years, the maximum that my plan permitted was well below the maximum that the law allows. I guess I did "max out" in those years, although the total amount contributed was quite small compared to what might have been allowed in a different plan.

pennywise
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby pennywise » Mon Oct 26, 2015 3:15 pm

We started each maxing out our 403Bs after our kids entered college; in our case we had been paying (a LOT) for private school tuition from pre-K through 12th grade for two kids, in the hopeful expectation that they could take advantage of the free tuition benefit from our employer, a private university. Happily both kids were able to do so to attend and graduate with their bachelor degrees at no cost.

Prior to that we simply did not have the financial wherewithal to max out retirement funds while paying ~$60K in educational expenses in addition to our other family fiscal obligations. I've never quite understood that exhortation to max out as if any/everyone can afford to slice out $50,000 annually from their household income.

However, it's been smooth sailing for the past few years now that both kids are out of the house and supporting themselves, the mortgage is paid off and there is just the two of us living at home. We don't even notice the 403b money being taken out and actually our savings sees to keep piling up which is a pleasant and welcome side effect of the empty nest :D .

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Ice-9
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby Ice-9 » Mon Oct 26, 2015 3:37 pm

When I was 32, I woke up to investing. Realizing I had lost some valuable early years to get started, I vowed to max every bit of tax-advantaged space for some time going forward in hopes of catching up. At the time, I was single and renting, so, while it took discipline, somewhere in the neighborhood of 35% to 40% of pre-tax income was very doable.

When I was 39 and getting married within a year, I wanted to save for our wedding to avoid taking on any debt. I consulted several online retirement calculators (including my favorite, Firecalc) to see how bad an effect cutting down the retirement savings for a year or so might be. To my pleasant surprise, my future wife and I were both in pretty decent shape by that point, and I cut my retirement savings to a target of somewhere between 15% and 20% of pre-tax income going forward.

We've stayed at that level of retirement contributions ever since, now enjoying a bit more to spend on the house, etc.

slowbutsteady
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby slowbutsteady » Mon Oct 26, 2015 7:08 pm

At 33 (2006) after I landed my real job post grad school. Maxed out 401k that first year and never looked back. DW started maxing out a year later post-residency (@33 as well).

Started contributing about $2.5k per year to IRA @34, but was jaded about IRAs (seems to be the worst of both worlds -- after tax contribution, earning taxed at income vs 15% for taxable/brokerage). But ramped up to the max (4.5k or so) in 2009 when I learned that backdoor Roth conversions will commence in 2010. Maxed out DW's IRA starting 2011.

Now 42 and 41. We have stayed the maxed-out-course ever since. But as many have stated, we need more than the standard tax advantaged retirement opportunities to save enough for retirement.

No HSA opportunity. But started plugging into NQDC 3 years ago. I keep second guessing the decision after reading about the NQDC debate on this forum. It seems I started too early. The only solace is it makes up less than 10% of our portfolio. I intend to keep it that way... but the tax benefits...those appealing immediate tax relief tax benefits... :greedy

Ignis
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby Ignis » Mon Oct 26, 2015 7:17 pm

Have been maxing my rIRA for several years (and maxed it one year, many years ago when I had some extra money/no idea about retirement planning, and then subsequently cashed out in 2009 or so... Bleh), and just upped my TSP contributions to max that out for the first time next year at 31.

I have made it a priority of mine to continue to max it out going forward in order to make up for lost years of retirement contributions. It will probably be tight for a while, but hopefully promotions/raises will allow me to continue to do so as life gets more expensive for me (marriage, kids, etc).

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wander
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby wander » Mon Oct 26, 2015 11:32 pm

This is the first year that we max out our retirement accounts + HSA. We are in our 40s.

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ofcmetz
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby ofcmetz » Tue Oct 27, 2015 4:20 am

I have too many retirement accounts to match them all and live the the life that I want to live.

I'm 36 and have been maxing his and her ROTH's and my 457B for the last 3 years. Usually this puts us saving about 22% of gross plus the 5% of total gross income that goes to my defined benefits plan. We put enough into the wife's 401K to get the maximum match and I put a bit into my 403B as well. I started retirement investing at age 25 (records indicate we both put in about $6.5K each that year), and earning pension credit at age 19.
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aorin
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby aorin » Tue Oct 27, 2015 8:42 am

Contributed only up to the match in my 401k until age 29.
Then I found this site. :happy
Started maxing Roth at 30, and then from 31 to Present(35) have maxed 401k, Roth and HSA.

zeeke42
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby zeeke42 » Tue Oct 27, 2015 9:52 am

I started maxing my Roth IRA when I was 16 and got my first summer job, of course the maximum was only $2000 then. I started putting 10% of income in my 401k when I started working and started maxing it at 31 after my now wife and I bought a house together.

surfstar
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby surfstar » Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:32 am

33 / last year

max'ing out, to me, means 457 and Roth, so $23,500 currently.
No match in 457 and the plan options aren't great, so I won't do the 457Roth. Also contribute to a pension. Once I found Bogleheads, I upped my contributions, then said why not try max'ing them and see how that goes. Max'd them out and have been fine, but know that if we have a kid and need to buy a home, max'ing will no longer be possible. So I do it now while we can. [which means we live in a 1br apt and drive used cars, but are completely happy with that and a goal of ER]

ponyboy
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby ponyboy » Tue Oct 27, 2015 11:07 am

Maxing both 401k and Roth since age 27...now 32. It has grown nicely.

asif408
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby asif408 » Tue Oct 27, 2015 2:25 pm

HomerJ wrote:
sport wrote:Most people do not earn enough to max out all available retirement accounts. You should consider yourself fortunate.


This.

For 95% of Americans, the answer will be never.

I fall in this category. If I maxed out all of my tax advantaged accounts I would be putting 80% of my salary in them. :shock:

I'm close to the average American income but do save a good bit in tax advantaged accounts (between 25-30%). Being frugal and not living in a HCOL area helps.

miles monroe
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby miles monroe » Tue Oct 27, 2015 2:31 pm

i opened an ira at 31 and fully funded it. of course with a max of 2k annually at the time it wasn't too hard. :)

MGBGTV8
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby MGBGTV8 » Tue Oct 27, 2015 3:40 pm

I will echo the comments about trying to max out the contributions, and then budgeting from there. I always saved first, and then managed the spending from there. Buying a modest house in a HCOL area helps. We planned that I would be able to support the family on one income for a while when we had kids at home. That assumption is holding (but tough, and we are eating into savings).

I got there by starting at 4% contributions in my post-college job, and then upping the contribution percentage each year as I got raises. Maxed out by age 32, stayed there until age 39 when I had to scale back to 6% (always get the full match!) due to wife not working for 3 years while at home with our kids. When we go back to two incomes next fall, I plan on ramping up the contributions again- slowly and steadily, so I can rebuild some the savings.

The power of compounding early career contributions is illustrated in the back of the envelope calculations I did when contemplating scaling back for a few years. With the early contributions, taking a break to coast for a few years didn't change the projected number at age 70 much.

goodlifer
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby goodlifer » Tue Oct 27, 2015 3:55 pm

I maxed out when I was 17 or 18, but as people have said, it wasn't hard to do back then. I got married, quit my job, and my husband maxed out until we bought the McMansion and had a baby. We add enough to get the match plus some, and up it with every raise or when we feel we can, but it isn't a priority for us. I have our retirement eggs in several baskets.

LateStarter1975
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby LateStarter1975 » Tue Oct 27, 2015 4:58 pm

JD2775 wrote:Just curious as to others situations...although I bet it will make me feel bad about my own ;)

I woke up when I turned 40 (this past February) and realized I needed to really start saving more money. That is when I started to max out my 401k and Roth IRA at the same time. Until that point I had been putting 9-11% into my 401k (about half the max) and a couple hundred dollars into the Roth per month. Oh, and I didn't even start saving for retirement until I was 30. I know, late to the game.

Big change for me but it is worth it and I have learned to adjust spending in other areas...

What about you?


If it will make you feel better, I started saving for retirement 4 years ago at 36. This year would be my first of maxing out my 401K. Since you started saving at 30, you are way ahead of late starters like me. So cheer up!
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TheEternalVortex
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby TheEternalVortex » Tue Oct 27, 2015 9:48 pm

I've maxed out all available accounts since I was 19. Most of that time I only had access to an IRA though, so it's not that impressive.

willie838
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby willie838 » Wed Oct 28, 2015 1:35 am

30 opened my roth after finally getting on the bogle bandwagon and finding someone that made investing not seem so daunting to do personally.

my 457b account opened a little after that with a new job and i've ramped up savings from 6, to 10, now up to 20% but that still won't hit the cap this year.

it's fun watching it all add up for sure and i've felt little squeeze because i'm still taking home a little more than i did in my previous job although my annual salary has approx doubled.

i'm still too spendy, but i'm working on it.

sawhorse
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby sawhorse » Wed Oct 28, 2015 2:17 am

I've maxed an IRA several years but not employer plans when I had access. I prioritized paying down student loans.

This year my husband's company started offering a 401k. We're contributing the max despite sub-optimal fund options and no match; 401ks offer unparalleled legal protection in addition to the tax benefits. There isn't enough from his earnings for a Roth contribution for him, so we plan on using some money from taxable as that money can be withdrawn anytime.

We're both in our mid 30s.

LFKB
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Re: Age when you started to max out your retirement accounts?

Postby LFKB » Wed Oct 28, 2015 7:25 am

Both of us have been maxing out our 401ks since 23


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