When you reach your 50s, retirement starts to come into focus. This is the decade to grow your retirement planning accounts to a level that will provide a comfortable retirement.
Managing your money with financial fundamentals
Audit your budget
Start to identify expenses you can eliminate now or when you retire. If you have loans on your vehicles or home, consider paying them off. Review magazine subscriptions as most are available at your local library or online. Terminate premium cable channels you seldom watch. Consider “cutting the cable” if you can stream your favorite programs.
Eliminate credit card debt
If you are carrying credit card debt, pay it off. You want to be free of all credit card debt by the time you retire. Also, continue to review your credit report annually. You are entitled to a free credit report each year from each of the three reporting agencies. Go to AnnualCreditReport.com to request your reports.
Financial planning checklist for his decade
Use the “catch-up” provisions available in your retirement savings
Beginning at age 50, most qualified retirement plans allow participants to contribute more than the maximum contribution amounts. “Catch-up” retirement savings can change depending on your plan, so check with your employer. It's not too late to make up for missed savings opportunities.
Keep your emergency fund current
Continue to maintain three to six times your monthly income in your emergency fund.
Make sure your investments are working for you
It may be time to rethink how your investments are allocated. As you approach retirement age, professionals have differing opinions about the types of equities and the balance of equities to bonds in your investment portfolios and retirement accounts. Talk to your financial professional about the approach that works best for your situation. If you have the option to direct the funds in your 401(k) or 403(b), ask your financial professional to make recommendations.
Talk to your financial professional about how to cover long-term care expenses. There are a variety of financial products available that can help offset the risk of not having enough funds to cover long-term care expenses. Consider covering your long-term care needs by purchasing an individual long term care insurance policy. You might even discuss funding options such as entering into an annuity contract with a life insurance company to help pay for long-term care insurance and services.
Retirement planning & extras for this decade
Talk to your parents
Talk to your parents about their preparations and estate planning. Have they planned for long-term care expenses? Do they have a power of attorney, wills, a living trust, and health directives? Have they thought about their final arrangements? A good way to start the conversation is by sharing the steps you're taking to prepare for your future.
Encourage the independence of your children
Recent statistics indicate that adults in the millennial generation are more financially dependent on their parents than previous generations. Providing financial support for adult children could interfere with your retirement funding strategy. Encourage your children to become financially independent before you retire.
How to manage money better at any age
Strive to save 30% or more of your income
10% for retirement, 10% for your emergency fund, and 10% for large purchases or vacations.
Maintain an emergency fund
Strive to save three to six times your monthly income.
Be mindful of your housing to income ratio
Try to limit your housing expense to no more than 28% of your gross household income.
Watch your debt to income ratio
Try to limit your total debt (mortgage, car loan, credit cards, student loans) to 36% of your gross household income.
Keep your credit card balance to limit ratio under control
To keep your credit score as high as possible, try to keep your balances as low as possible.
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