How do I protect my finances in my 50s?
Planning for your future — and your family's future — starts with financial planning. Follow these tips to understand and prioritize your needs.
1: Focus on that final stretch to retirement.
- Saving remains a financial priority, and being between ages 50 and 60 is an ideal time for earnings. In addition, people 50 and older can make “catch-up contributions” to retirement plans such as an IRA, a 401(k), and a 403(b).
If you haven’t already, consider meeting with a financial planner for guidance.
If you're not healthy, you'll need ample savings in retirement.
At least 70 percent of people 65 and older will need long-term care services and support at some point in their lifetime. — National Medicare Handbook, September 2013
The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College suggests the average couple at age 65 will need about $197,000 to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses that span average life expectancy.
2: Explore long-term care insurance.
This insurance generally covers home healthcare, nursing home stays, and therapy. That might sound unnecessary, but procrastinating could mean higher premiums later. It could also lead to ineligibility if an illness that qualifies as a pre-existing condition develops.
Also, be aware that rejections for coverage are soaring while the numbers of providers are shrinking.
To prepare, consider:
- In the U.S., the average cost for home health services ranges from $19 to $20 an hour.
- The average rate in the U.S. for assisted living is $3,500 a month.
- The average national rate for a semi-private nursing home room is $212 a day.
3: Discuss future wishes.
How do you want to be cared for? Prepare or update important legal and care planning documents. Discussing death or care toward the end of life is one way to help your children make decisions during a difficult time.
- Advance directives outline your wishes for future medical care.
4. Curb expenses by going small.
Once the kids are gone, moving to a smaller residence could mean saving money on taxes, utility bills, maintenance and more.
Going small also reduces the potential for physical injury, which can result in hefty medical bills.
Explore getting situated in an affordable space where you can enjoy your retirement years with old friends or cultivate new friendships.