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Financial Birthday Presents for 50+


Start with extra 401(k) contributions.

A brief look at the financial presents that come with your 50th birthday and beyond.

At age:

50 -- You are allowed to contribute more to your 401(k) and/or individual retirement account thanks to a "catch-up" provision in government rules designed to aid those who haven't saved enough: an extra $5,500 in 2010.

55 -- You may take 401(k) distributions without incurring a penalty if you are retired or laid off.

59½ -- (A happy half-birthday) You can withdraw retirement money without a 10 percent penalty.

62 --
The earliest age to receive Social Security retirement benefits. The monthly benefit is 80 percent of what it would be if you started taking it at full retirement age.

65 -- Medicare eligibility age.

66 -- Full retirement age for those born between 1943 and 1954. (It's 66 and change for those born from 1955-59, rising by two-month increments with each birth year. Details at

67 --
Full retirement age for those born in 1960 or later.

70 -- If you postpone taking Social Security until 70, your monthly check will reach its maximum amount. That would make it about a third larger than taking it at full retirement age of 66.

For more details about financial benefits and age, see Milestone Birthdays Bring Some Financial Benefits.
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