Once you’ve been on this Earth for half a century, it is time to get serious about your retirement and financial planning. For many, your 50th birthday is a kick in the butt to really start thinking about the future. When will working become optional? Can you afford the bucket list trips? Even where will you live once you leave the workforce?
I’m 50 (or older). What do I do now? Keep reading for some money moves you need to make once you’ve reached the ripe young age of 50. If you are already 50+, there is still time to improve your financial security. Likewise, you still have time to make smart retirement planning choices to improve your future retirement. Don’t delay; time is no longer on your side; the earlier you get serious, the easier reaching financial freedom will be.
“I’m 50; now what?” What You Need to Do Now
Now is the time to take stock of where you are in life and where you want to be in the future. When would you like to retire? (Some of you will answer tomorrow, while a few of you may be planning to work forever). More importantly, it is time to review your progress towards your dream retirement. Are you on track for financial freedom? Or do you need to make drastic lifestyle changes now to make working later in life a choice instead of a must?
It may feel like retirement is still years away, but it will be here before you know it. Did you ever really think you’d be 50? Between now and when you retire, the time is not that long when you realize your retirement savings will most likely need to last 30 years or more. Living to 100 is very much a possibility for many people reading this post.
If you have not saved anything yet for retirement, catching up on a nest egg isn’t a lost cause, but I’m not going to lie, reaching financial freedom, and maintaining your lifestyle in retirement will be a real challenge. Retirement options and needs will vary from person to person, of course.
Separating Financial Needs from Wants
It is easy for things that were once luxuries to be considered necessities. While I don’t expect anyone to give up their iPhone in retirement, you may want to rethink other “necessary” expenses.
Do you need to lease a new Lexus every two years without commuting to work? If that new car meant you needed to work an extra year or two to afford it, would you still “need” it? Perhaps, you could suffer by purchasing a new car every five years instead? An added benefit, the longer you own a car, the cheaper your registration and auto insurance will be.
Freeing up your retirement spending plan money from all your day-to-day living expenses can mean retiring early. Or perhaps, driving that paid-off car will allow for even more money in your travel budget. What will bring you the most happiness and enjoyment?
Without saving adequately for retirement and having a spending plan for retirement, most Americans will eventually have trouble paying for even the most basic necessities.
If You Are Behind, Consider Delaying Retirement
Working longer is not ideal, but it has the potential to increase the security of your income in retirement dramatically. Some of you may benefit from working an extra year. You may want to consider pushing retirement back a few years for those starting late.
A few extra years of investing with the help of compound interest can make a huge difference when it comes to your retirement nest egg. For example, if, at the age of 50, you’ve managed to accumulate $1,000,000 in a retirement account and then saved $20,500 per year in a 401(k) (assuming an 8% pre-tax growth), your nest egg could swell to around $3,700,000 at 65. By waiting until 70 to retire, you could have about $5,600,000. Waiting until 70 meant an additional $1,900,000 of retirement assets. And that would also mean larger Social Security checks each month for the rest of your life.
Get Your Social Security Estimate
Ideally, Social Security is not your only source of retirement income. The average Social Security check is just $1,614 per month in 2022. Would this level of retirement income even cover your rent, let alone utilities? It surely won’t cover many nights at the Four Seasons Maldives resort and won’t allow you to fly there in business class. Take the time and get your estimated Social Security benefits from the SSA.gov website. It’s free.
If you were wondering, the maximum Social Security benefit in 2022 is (you forgot to include this info. I checked online and found the following…$2,364 for someone who files at 62 and $3,345 for those who wait until full retirement age. The maximum Social Security benefit at age 70 is $4,194 per month in 2022.
If you are unsure of where to begin when it comes to making a proactive plan for your dream retirement, find a fee-only Certified Financial Planner to help guide you. Look for ways to cut your spending and increase your investing for retirement.
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