Making money: The upside of turning 50, and more

Three top pieces of financial advice — from where to get cheaper deals in 2014 to how to make the jobs come to you

Sale signs
(Image credit: (Thinkstock))

Cheaper deals in 2014

This is the season to seize big savings on a range of goods, said Kelli B. Grant at CNBC. For automakers, 2013 "was a banner sales year," and now they're offering low prices designed to keep competition sharp for new wheels. "Drivers are likely to see more money on the table as automakers fight for sales and market share," with especially good deals in the offing for trucks. And if you didn't get that electronic gadget you wanted for Christmas, now is the time to shop around. Manufacturers often roll out new models in January, and once pre-Super Bowl sales kick in, shoppers can find deep discounts. And if you're planning a last-minute getaway, consider the Caribbean: Cruise lines and air carriers plan to add new routes this year, and fares are already falling quickly.

The upside of turning 50

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Many of the youngest Baby Boomers will turn "the big 5-0" this year, said Carolyn T. Geer at The Wall Street Journal. If that includes you, take heart: That's the age at which "many investors enter their peak earning years and their expenses begin to taper off." If you fear you haven't saved enough for retirement, "don't panic: 50 is also the age at which you become eligible to make 'catch-up' contributions" of up to $5,500 a year to your 401(k) retirement funds. And there's no need to wait until your actual birthday — "as long as you turn 50 in 2014, you can make extra contributions anytime this year." The sooner you start, the better, since adding money into your account early in the year will give it more time to generate earnings.

Make the jobs come to you

Employers these days are getting more pro-active about seeking out candidates, said Anne Fisher at Fortune. Since most high earners say they plan to stay put in 2014, "organizations that need to fill senior-level positions will have to try harder to lure potential candidates, rather than expecting those people to apply as they did in past years," said Shon Burton, CEO of HiringSolved. More employers and headhunters "will be using big-data-based algorithms that are both fast and cheap" to find potential hires, so if you're interested, "spend less time polishing your résumé and getting the keywords exactly right, and a lot more time making your online signal stronger so that headhunters can find you."

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Sergio Hernandez is business editor of The Week's print edition. He has previously worked for The DailyProPublica, the Village Voice, and Gawker.