When we reach our mid-50s, our retirement worries tend to start to grow. While many of us may want to continue enjoying our lives and “live it up” during these years, we have no way of turning back our clocks. All of the money we’ve made and spent is gone, and sometimes anxiety levels skyrocket as we realize that we are not getting any younger.
If you’re in your mid-50s and are on track to reach or exceed your goals by the age at which you intend to retire, then congratulations! While some of us are on track, many of us are not. However, no matter where you’re at with your goals, we naturally want to find ways to enhance our retirement plan and lifestyle, but the question for a lot of people in their mid-50s is, how? And, is it possible to create wealth at my age?
If you’re in your mid-50s and want to create the retirement of your dreams, it is not too late to make some key changes no matter how tight your retirement timeline is.
Here are four tips on how to make your retirement planning process more successful, no matter your age:
Maximize all Government Savings Programs
No matter how many times we’ve mentioned this in previous posts—not to mention how many times every other financial planner has mentioned it—we cannot stress enough the importance of taking advantage of all retirement fund benefits and options provided through the SMSF program.
You may be thinking, “I’ve already done this and I’m not seeing a lot of changes.” While this may very well be the case for you, know that it doesn’t have to be. Yes, there are some great benefits to SMSF, but the question is, are you adding more funds to these accounts?
One of the best ways to grow these funds is by simply adding more money to them. It is not easy to do, but entirely possible. It may mean you have to go without something and possibly may mean we will have to forego some of our wants, but it could pay off quite well in the future.
Most people in their 50s tend to be earning well and the average salary indicates that many of us in this stage of our lives can actually afford to tuck away more money than we actually are. As we covered in a recent post, there may be some issues affecting our cash flow and quite possibly, it may not be feasible for you to put some extra funds into retirement at this time. If this sounds like you, there is hope and quite possibly an opportunity you’re not seeing at this time.
Consider Going Big and Eliminating Your Mortgage
It has been said that one of the easiest and fastest ways to give ourselves an instant retirement raise is through paying off our mortgage as quickly as possible. The obvious way to do this is by going big on our payments as much as possible. This may not be possible for everyone so another option to consider is selling our home once the nest is empty and downsizing to something more affordable.
Depending on our mortgage amount, we may free up a considerable amount of income to be invested in our retirement fund. Even if we did this for 10 years and saved, let’s say, an extra $15,000 a year, that would be an extra $150,000 in our retirement fund. If we did this for an additional 15 years, we’ll have an additional $225,000 in our retirement fund… and that’s before the magic of compound interest.
Naturally, the thought of selling our home may not be an easy one for many of us, but if we start working some numbers and comparing possible costs if we were to downsize, we may begin to change our view of downsizing for the sake of improving our retirement.
Hold on to Your Retirement Vision
Making major changes such as downsizing our home and devoting every possible penny to retirement will bring a lot of change into our lives. One technique some retirement planning experts recommend is getting emotional about your retirement to help you hold on to your vision.
An example of this could include focusing on the things you visually see yourself doing during retirement. This could include spending more time with grandchildren, or volunteering and devoting time to a cause we care about. Whatever it is, having a clear goal and holding on to it will help us stay motivated to get there.
Having goals that include doing what we love or care deeply about has been proven to help more people reach what they’ve been dreaming about. We need something to hold on to and after working hard for 30+ years, you deserve to spend this life stage well.
An excellent way to help us on our journey at this stage of the retirement planning game is to be accountable for our decisions. If we have goals and dreams, but do nothing about them, we are setting ourselves up for failure. But, we have the ability to turn this situation around to work in our favor. Maybe selling your home and downsizing is the thing for you, but possibly you could make some other changes to help build more wealth for retirement.
Whatever those changes may end up being for you, make them, stick with them, and accept responsibility for them. This is your retirement and your opportunity to spend it how you want to without answering to anyone. Have fun with the process and learn to control what you can and let go of what you cannot.
Want to take control of your retirement plan and create more wealth in your mid-50s?
At Ethica Private Wealth, we are dedicated to helping our clients reach their financial goals. If you’re in your mid-50s and are ready to start looking at the different options available to you, we offer a two-hour consult session with one of our financial advisors on the Sunshine Coast. Call to book your session at (07) 5443 5577 or visit our online booking page to book your appointment here.