"Retirement Savings of Americans in Their 50s: A Look at 401(k) Balances"

"Retirement Looms: Americans in Their 50s Struggle to Save Enough" As retirement approaches, many Americans in their 50s face a grim reality: their savings might not suffice.

The recommended benchmark of six times your salary saved by 50 seems elusive for most. Fidelity suggests having $600,000 saved if you earn $100,000 annually - a goal often missed.

Data from Fidelity's Q2 2023 Retirement Analysis reveals the harsh truth. Americans aged 50-59 average a mere $189,800 in their 401(k)s, far from the ideal.

A stark divide emerges: a few big accounts inflate the average, while most lag. The median 401(k) balance of $57,000 highlights the true struggle to save for many.

Reasons abound for the retirement savings gap, from parental care to financial strains. College expenses, mortgage debts, and caring for ailing parents hinder savings.

Inflation's bite adds to the challenge, altering contribution behaviors significantly. Personal Finance Index shows 25% reduced contributions, 12% halted saving due to inflation.

Hope remains for those lagging behind, with strategies to fortify retirement prospects. Control lies in the savings rate: Fidelity recommends 15%, encompassing employer matches.

The annual 401(k) contribution limit of $22,500 for 2023 can be maximized. A $7,500 catch-up option exists for those over 50, expanding the limit to $30,000.

Exploring alternatives is prudent, especially for those at their 401(k) limits. Roth IRAs offer an option, with $6,500 annual contributions for income-qualified individuals.