6 Milestones to Reach During Your 40s and 50s
Your SouthState Investment Services Financial Consultant can offer some guidance on important milestones to reach.Don’t worry if you can’t check off the entire list. You can still begin these habits now in order to pursue your long term goals.
Are you budgeting?Your 40s and 50s are not too late to begin budgeting if you haven’t done so before. You may have tried and failed to stick to a budget in the past. Make the mid-century mark the time to try once more.
Having been in adulthood for a couple of decades, budgeting might be easier at this point in your life. You know yourself and your spending habits, allowing you to confidently say “yes” or “no” to things you want to spend money on. You know if you need to budget for a special meal out with your partner or going out for drinks every Friday after work. Create a budget that fits your lifestyle today.
What’s the status of your savings?Your 40s and 50s – really any age – are a great time to get serious about saving. Don’t you wish your younger self had started saving earlier?
If you’re at a higher level in your career, you may be able to put aside more on a monthly basis than you could in your 20s or 30s. If you’re saving a larger portion of your income, you might consider a savings account with tiered or premium interest. Saving will make planning for trips with friends, medical needs and other large expenses more manageable down the road. According to the National Council on Aging, people with Medicare spend over $5,000 each year on out-of-pocket costs. Do you have that much saved today? Our long-term care calculator can help you estimate how much you need to save.
Having a nest egg is essential if you or your spouse lose employment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, older workers who lose their job will often take longer to find a new one compared to younger workers. The latest data, from October 2021, shows workers ages 45-54 spend an average of 32 weeks without work if they lose their job.
Are you planning for retirement?
Even if retirement is still years away, it’s never too early to think about making your money last. One way to do that is to max out your retirement account contributions.
First, make sure you are contributing enough to receive your full employer match if your plan offers one. Don’t leave free money on the table. If possible, set an annual goal to contribute an additional percent or two, working up to saving between 10 and 15 percent of your pretax income. If your expenses are reduced due to children leaving home or a refinance, you may find it easier to put this extra percentage aside.
Can I pay down or consolidate debt?While you work on saving for retirement, don’t forget about your existing debt. You may want to take one or two months away from contributing extra money to retirement and instead finish paying off a vehicle loan or credit card debt accrued during the holiday season. Remember that interest paid on a high-interest credit card is money you can’t put in your 401(k).
Do you have any debt that you’ve been carrying for a while? Graduate or doctoral student loans? Medical debt? It might be part of your routine now just to send a minimum monthly payment without much thought, but do you want to take that debt with you into your golden years?
Another piece of advice: only add new debt only when you can easily handle it. It might be tempting to splurge on something for a child or grandchild, but keep your financial limitations in mind.
Do you have enough life insurance?Another consideration when you reach 50 is verifying that you have enough life insurance. Your policy should reflect your current and future needs. When calculating life insurance needs, you’ll need your net income after taxes, as well as your average living expenses. This is where a budget can help, allowing you to easily look back on months or years of spending habits.
Life insurance will need to cover these expenses as well as any outstanding debt, such as a mortgage, education loans or other loans.
Insurance can also be used as a way to protect wealth through additional tax-deferred assets or pass wealth to future generations. To learn more about your options, contact your local Financial Consultant .
What are your caregiving responsibilities?If you have aging parents, begin the conversation on caregiving responsibilities. What are your parents’ plans to pay for their medical bills? Do they need to sell their home and relocate to a care facility in the next few years? Do they have proper life insurance or long term care policies in place?
It’s also a good idea to communicate with your parents and siblings, if any, about your parents’ financial documents and estate planning.
Your 40s and 50s come with countless joy-filled moments and critical decision-making. If you still have questions about financial planning – such as paying for a child’s college tuition versus focusing on your retirement – a SouthState Investment Services Financial Consultant can help. Together, you can build a better foundation on which to build your senior years.