Turning 50 is a milestone for many reasons: Children are all grown up and the big debts, such as saving for college and the mortgage, make less of a dent. Financial planning in this decade is tricky, however, and hugely important.
For many, the target retirement age is now in sight. As you get older, time seems to move faster as well. You really understand how quickly 15 years can get by you and the importance of avoiding bad money choices as retirement nears.
Here are some of the key financial planning moves to make in your 50s:
1. Make a clean break with your children
Financially coddling your kids is a mistake as you edge closer to retirement age. You have worked hard to grow your retirement nest egg so now is the time to start thinking about how you are going to enjoy it.
2. Avoid major new debt
For some people the realisation that they have not saved enough or taken any chances which leads them to make irrational financial decisions.
Too many couples let that decision turn into a new, long-term investment property with a highly geared loan. Consider how your cash flow will work in retirement. If your new investment property is a big part of the spending pie, lower your sights and focus on your retirement superannuation fund.
3. Reassess your insurances
The great unknown of pre-retirement living is what life may throw at you health wise. If you remain healthy, no problem. But any chronic condition can turn into an ongoing expense that greatly restricts your lifestyle. While insurance is still required, insurance premiums are a huge expense so it’s time to be smarter with what insurance cover you actually need.
Firstly review your insurances to ensure you have enough to reduce all debt. Then if affordable have a lump sum left over so your surviving beneficiary can have financial peace of mind.
4. Transition to retirement strategy (TTR)
A TTR income stream can be used to top up an individual’s cash-flow where they choose to reduce their working hours as they near retirement, cease employment without committing to retirement, or where they just require extra cash-flow.
In addition, where the individual wishes to remain in full-time employment, a TTR pension used in conjunction with salary sacrifice can be a tax effective way of increasing their superannuation savings.
5. Invest for the decades to come
It’s easy to look at 65 as the “finish line,” but the fact is you are likely to live 20 years or more. If you are 50 today, that’s 35 years of market ups and downs, inflation and all the rest of it. While moving toward more conservative investments makes sense as you get older, don’t overdo it. You’ll need the power of compounding to ensure that your nest eggs lasts well into your later years.
Making the right moves in your 50s can dictate the success or failure of your retirement plan. Take things step by step and think about the long-term and you will find that your money will work hard to take care of you later on.