Building Wealth Across the Decades: Key Financial Priorities for Your Fifties

Over the course of your fifties, continue to build on the financial planning activities you started in your earlier years. As you enter this decade, your main attention should shift to retirement planning. As retirement approaches, it is crucial to ensure you have enough savings to maintain your desired lifestyle. This includes assessing your pension, investments, and other retirement income sources to determine if they will provide enough funds for your retirement needs.

Consider Costs

This is also an ideal time to consider any additional costs that may not be a necessity but instead represent amounts that are important to you. For instance, assisting your children with their wedding expenses, assisting your children with a home purchase, or assisting your parents with the costs of their long-term care if they are not adequately prepared. These are all items you should try to factor into your long-term cash flow planning.

Accessing your Retirement Income

A subset of this planning is the tax considerations associated with your various sources of retirement income and the best way to draw them down. This is a cornerstone of effective personal financial planning. It is important to understand your post-retirement financial goals, such as purchasing a second home or leaving a legacy for your children, grandchildren, or charity of choice. Proper planning can help guide your financial decisions and ensure that you are on track to achieve your post-retirement goals.

Outstanding Debt

At this stage, hopefully you have figured out how to manage your debt. In your 50s, it becomes more important to pay off any outstanding debts, such as a mortgage or credit card debt. Reducing your debt burden as soon as you are able will help you build a more secure financial future. One of the keys to managing debt is budgeting and tracking your expenditures.  

Budget for Future Expenses

As you budget for your future expenditures, keep in mind potential long-term care expenses. Long-term care expenses can be substantial, particularly as you age. This might include, but is not limited to, the cost of house renovations to accommodate loss of mobility, the cost of in-home medical and/or personal care assistance, the potential cost of a retirement home that can accommodate future health and mobility issues.  Many people do not consider these costs until they are needed, at which point it is too late to save money to afford them. It’s important to plan for potential costs associated with long-term care and other related expenditures so that you are prepared for anything that comes your way in the later stages of your life.

Estate Planning Documents

Finally, it is critical to have another look at your Will and other “estate planning” documents you have in place. This will ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Proper estate planning is essential when it comes to tax minimization and other costs associated with transferring your assets to your heirs. As we age, it is important to review our wills more often and to adjust accordingly.

In summary, it’s important in your 50’s to prioritize retirement planning, cash flow planning, debt management, and estate planning. At the same time, be sure to consider your long-term financial goals and potential long-term care costs.

Next in this Series – Building Wealth Across the Decades: Key Financial Priorities for your Sixties & Beyond

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