How to Plan for Retirement if You’re in Your 50s

If you’re like most people, your 50s seemed like a far-off event that would happen in another lifetime; as a consequence, you might have also treated retirement as a distant event. However, now that you’ve arrived in your 50s, you may feel inclined to panic or feel defeated when it comes to your retirement savings. Repeat after us: the best day to start taking action is today. Taking advantage of the knowledge and guidance of a trusted financial advisor can be a great place to start.

Southwestern Investment Group is here to provide you with a solid plan of action to kick your retirement savings into high gear, quickly. Ideally, within the range of ages 45-54, you have reached the mid-level peak of your career and have optimized your earnings potential. This will undoubtedly make investing in retirement more accessible; but, even if you do not fall into this category, there are plenty of methods to help you amplify your retirement savings.

In this article, we will discuss how individuals in their 50s can help either boost their retirement savings or finally begin building their savings rapidly.

Examine Your Expenses (and Make a Plan)

The first preliminary step before making any financial plan is to take an honest look at your current financial affairs. Take note and divide your expenses into long-term and short-term expenses. For example, a long-term expense would be healthcare for you and your spouse, a short-term expense could be your children’s college tuition or a car lease.

It’s important to divide your expenses in this manner so that you can more accurately determine what you will need to budget for in retirement and what debt you can work to eliminate now. Though your expenses may seem overwhelming now, it is helpful to know which expenses will be out of the picture in 10-15 years.

The Importance of Asset Allocation

When saving for retirement in your 50s, it’s especially important to create a diverse retirement portfolio that keeps up with inflation. Although you might be feeling pressure to take more risks with your investments in order to make up for lost time, keep in mind that risk should most always correlate with age and earning potential. 

But, don’t worry—there are still ways to successfully play catch-up! Once you’ve hit age 50, you are allowed to make an additional contribution, of up to $6,500 annually, to your employer-sponsored retirement account. If you do not have access to an employer plan, we would suggest making contributions to tax-advantaged retirement plans, like a Traditional IRA or Roth IRA; if you are over the age of 50, you are eligible to contribute $7,000 annually, which can be a great way to quickly amass savings.

Create a Health Savings Account

You may feel that there will be ample savings in your retirement accounts to cover healthcare expenses, but you should be aware that a couple in their mid-60s will need around $285,000 to cover health care costs, and that number only substantially increases if an assisted-living home must be considered. 

By creating a health savings account (HSA), you not only help to position yourself and your spouse (and your children) from shouldering this financial burden, you also have the advantage of potentially reducing your taxable income. Another option when it comes to healthcare savings in retirement is to consider investing in long-term health insurance to help guarantee that nursing home expenses are covered.

Consider the Advantages of Delaying Retirement

After taking an honest look at your finances with a trusted financial advisor, it may become apparent that your retirement savings could really benefit from delaying retirement by a year or two. Though your initial reaction after hearing this might be dread or shame, we assure you, this does not mean you have failed.

If this option is right for you and your family, you might consider opening up a small business or working as a consultant on the side to generate additional income. A great way to look at this can be as an opportunity to pursue a passion project or finally be your own boss.

Ready to Make a Plan? 

Southwestern Investment Group provides no-judgement advising, helping you to alleviate financial stress and build your way toward retirement. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

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Jeffrey T. Dobyns


President, SageSpring | Financial Advisor, RJFS 

Jeffrey T. Dobyns

President, SageSpring | Financial Advisor, RJFS

Beyond crunching numbers and investment strategies, at SageSpring, we’re about building relationships. When you encounter Founder & President of SageSpring, Jeff Dobyns, it’s easy to understand why this is at the very heart of who we are as a firm. You won’t find stuffy formalities with Jeff; instead, you can expect to find him sharing a warm smile, communicating a compelling vision, or patiently untangling life’s complex challenges with clients. He believes in truly getting to know clients, understanding their aspirations and priorities, and navigating their financial plans with a tailored, comprehensive approach. Our team members have often been caught taking notes on Jeff’s effortless relationship skills from a distance, and we admire them for striving to learn from one of the best. 

Jeff’s financial expertise and wisdom are the perfect match to his innate people skills. Jeff holds the prestigious CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM certification, Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®), and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChLU®) designations, and has held executive positions with financial planning firms for more than two decades. 

His dedication extends beyond the office to the boardroom and the local community, where Jeff is passionate about giving back. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Men of Valor, a prison ministry and mentoring program. Jeff also serves on the board of Send Musicians to Prison, which shares hope, healing and restoration with the imprisoned through musicians & artists. Jeff actively supports other initiatives in the community by sitting on the board of The Signatry of Middle Tennessee and the Halftime Institute of Nashville. 

Witnessing his four children, Gracyn, Hunter, Tanner, and Logan, excel on the field is almost just as rewarding, if not more, than celebrating the victories of seeing his clients overcome obstacles and build wealth. Spending weekends boating on the lake, hiking mountain trails, and fishing with his family are the moments Jeff cherishes most. It’s this grounded perspective that reveals the true meaning of wealth for Jeff: not just numbers on a page, but the freedom to create experiences that enrich your life and the lives of those you love. When you choose the Dobyns McMillin Wealth Team, you choose more than financial expertise. You choose a partner who champions your dreams, celebrates your victories, and walks besides you on the path to achieving your unique goals.

**Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.