So, they call it the golden years (apparently.) We have arrived. Congratulations. Not sure how “golden” you feel, but I sure felt a lot better being a shiny new penny than whatever this gold crap is, but hey! At least I remember my name.
Okay, I’m obviously joking. In all fairness, it’s not so bad.
Sure, we’ve had to switch from smoking joints to hurting joints. And yeah, when a man walks by and says “nice bum”, he’s usually referring to the homeless guy on the street. But that’s okay! We still have a lot going for us. Being 50+ means choosing to forgo bras and heals for the sake of comfort. It means being able to watch our own TV shows without kids barging in and changing the channel. It means understanding the beauty of life in a way young people don’t. And it also means having more freedom to make our own decisions like when to travel, who we want to spend time around, and how we want to spend our retirement years.
We’ve all been told the same lies – that we should start saving up for retirement in our “shiny penny” years, and while that’s solid advice, it doesn’t mean that it’s not too late for any of us to make smart investments now.
You can live the best financial life in your 50s by following a few simple guidelines.
Build a Cash Reserve for Financial Emergencies
If you want to achieve the best financial life in your 50s and up, you should put a cash reserve at the top of your to-do list. Experts recommend that women build an emergency fund equal to at least six months of living expenses. I know, I know. Easier said than done. You’re probably thinking right about now that it’d be easier to slide on that bra and stilettos. But small changes can lead to a fruitful cash reserve.
Abdicating things like morning coffee runs, a personal trainer, bi-weekly pedicures, unnecessary online purchases, usings fans instead of AC (the horror!) … all of these changes seem minor but can add up, allowing you comfort in knowing that – God forbid something were to happen – you would be in the lead.
Look, ladies, we aren’t spring chickens anymore. As we age, our vulnerability to diseases, medical issues, and even economic hardships is an unpleasant realization that we should all be prepared for. Plus, you want to do everything in your power to avoid pulling from your retirement accounts.
Start a Business
You have already acquired several skills at this point in your life – ones you may not even know are valuable enough to apply in a business setting.
One of the main reasons older entrepreneurs have an advantage over their younger counterparts is simply from being around longer to collect more know-how in so many aspects of life. Maybe you have computer or management skills from working in an office or people skills from working in a restaurant or multitasking skills from being a stay-at-home mom. There are a number of qualities that make for a good business owner and zero of them are stifled due to older age.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to spend millions of dollars or build an office from the ground up to start a business. At any age, there are countless business opportunities to choose from and not all of them require a full-time commitment. Running a dog-walking service, freelance writing for online businesses, driving for Uber, or harnessing the power of Amazon – all of these are very much doable and not restricted to the young.
When choosing which business to start, always consider the bigger picture and weigh the pros and cons. For example, you may have marketable skills but no longer have the resources to travel every single day; freelancing might be a great option. Alternatively, if you’re interested in earning passive income and willing to put in some work, you may start an online business like consulting or being a life coach.
Diversify Your Investment Portfolio
You can invest and earn passive income even if you’re well in your 50s, and it’s a great time to diversify your investment portfolio. This technique allows you to remain financially stable regardless of how volatile the external market factors are or if you can commit to a full-time or part-time job.
You can expand your investment portfolio by putting money in various asset classes, such as properties, bonds, cryptocurrency, gold, and shares. Diversification is a great strategy that lowers your investment risk.
Earn passive income even if one type stops operating or becomes less valuable in a potentially tumultuous market.
Set Up an Estate Plan or Will
On the list of fun things to talk about, death is right up there with menopause: It’s something that you hope is fast and takes a long time to happen. But as much as we don’t want to think about death, it’s inevitable and setting up an estate plan and/or will as early as possible iis imperative if you want your investments going to the right people.
Generally, an estate plan is a collection of legal documents that detail how to distribute your assets when you die. Your estate plan also includes information on how you want your financial and health decisions handled and by who when you’re unable to make that decision yourself.
Most estate plans will have a will that indicates the name of an executor who will distribute your valuables as you intended. A public trustee or solicitor can help you create and finalize your estate plan. An estate plan will make you feel more confident about the future because you’ll know that your loved ones are taken care of. It can also eliminate family feuds because you can control who receives something upon your death.
Pay Off Your Debts
Financial burden is one of the most uncomfortable things to live with (other than hemorrhoids) and should be tackled straight off if you have the means to do so. Living with that looming fear hanging over you that your debts are just piling up can lead to extreme anxiety and even stress-related health complications.
There are many ways to pay off debt in your 50s. A popular option many middle-aged to elderly people turn to is downsizing their home. While emotionally this can be a struggle (particularly if we built such fond memories there), it may make the most sense. Lower mortgage, lower bills, lower maintenance…
Another option is paying off your existing loans through debt consolidation, which is a refinancing strategy that entails taking a singular, low-interest loan to pay off other subsequent loans. Consolidating your debts has many advantages such as lower interest rates and improving your credit score.
Seek Help From a Professional
No I don’t mean psychiatric help (although, trust me, I’m sure a lot of us need it).
While many of us embrace our independence and don’t necessarily like to seek the help of others, not all of us are great at managing money, knowing where to turn, or knowing our financial options. If you’ve incurred debts in the past, one of the most proactive ways of handling it is seeking the help of a professional financial advisor.
Financial advisors can help you manage your investments, savings, insurances, taxes and even debts. These professionals have the training and experience to handle finances, which means that they can help you track your financial goals and ensure that you reach them as soon as possible so you can enjoy life sans looming fear of financial instability.
Whatever You Do, Don’t Let Age Stop You
Age is just a number that should never hinder you from attaining a life that makes you happy, comfortable, content… and yes, financially secure. We all like to pretend that money doesn’t matter; that it’s not important in the grand scheme of things. But, that’s easier to say when it’s not actually a problem for you. For the rest of us, financial hardship is something to take seriously and implement calculated strategies to overcome.
I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m not saying it won’t take work. But even if you can take a little of your money pressure off your plate, you can get excited about your future and all it has to offer.