11 Retirement Funding Goals Everyone Ought to Hit by Age 50

Middle-aged couple
Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock.com

The approach of a milestone birthday is a reminder that, as life changes, so do your needs and circumstances.

With the Big Five-O, the question is settled: You’re no longer a kid. And that’s a great thing, because maturity is much better than it’s cracked up to be.

So, instead of dreading it, update your financial life by hitting the following targets. Doing so will put you in a position to embrace the coming decades.

1. Debt: Tamed

Sergey Petrov / Shutterstock.com

It’s time to pay off your debts, or at least have them under control. Add new debt only when you can easily handle it.

Pay credit card balances before interest is applied.

2. Spending: Under control

Syda Productions / Shutterstock.com

With children possibly gone from the home and maybe even out of school, you may have more money on hand now. It’s tempting to spend it. After all, your friends may be living it up, and you’ve worked hard to get here.

Have fun, but don’t shortchange your retirement goals. If you are well-employed, your 50s are a gift — probably the best earning years of your life. Double down on savings, as retirement may last a long, long time.

Also, start thinking about how you’ll change spending after retirement.

3. Retirement goals: Defined

Poprotskiy Alexey / Shutterstock.com

Set a concrete goal for your retirement savings. Just do it. The kids will find a way to pay for college if it matters to them. They have years to get on their feet financially. You do not.

There are a couple of approaches. One is to set your goal for the amount of money that many investment professionals suggest you should save by retirement: 10 to 12 times the amount of your last full year of income.

Say, for example, that you expect to make $80,000 the last year that you work. Under this guideline, you would need to set aside $800,000 to $960,000 for retirement.

4. Retirement contributions: Inching up steadily

Yuganov Konstantin / Shutterstock.com

Now that you have a goal, keep increasing the percentage of your paycheck that you save for retirement. Make the increases so small they’re hardly noticeable.

If you’re currently diverting 12% to a retirement account like a 401(k) or IRA, bump it up to 13%. Six months later, give your retirement savings another tiny raise and keep it going until you are at your goal.

Whatever your goal, automate the deductions from your paycheck, so you never see the money until it’s safely in your retirement account.

5. Social Security: On track for the max

REDPIXEL.PL / Shutterstock.com

Social Security is likely to be a key source of income in your retirement. Go to the official government website and set up a Social Security account. Use it to estimate your future benefits at various retirement ages.

Consider working longer if you need to increase your monthly payout — and learn about other things you can do now to maximize your payout.

6. 401(k): Lowest fees possible

pathdoc / Shutterstock.com

Many savers unknowingly pay far too much in mutual fund fees, losing up to hundreds of thousands of dollars they could have used in retirement.

Check your plan statements to see the fees you are charged. To learn how to reduce investment fees, read “Of All the Fees You Pay, This One Is the Worst.”

7. Your will: Updated

Andy Dean Photography / Shutterstock.com

You don’t need a will. If you don’t have one, a probate court will decide what to do with your assets after you die.

If you want control over what happens to your money and property, though, you need a will. A will gives a voice to your decisions and requests after you’re gone.

Use it to say what you want for your children and pets. Use it to determine what happens to any of your possessions with financial or sentimental value. You can include provisions for your remains and, if you want one, name an executor who will be in charge of following your directions.

8. You: Giving back

Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

Committing to doing good in the world is a part of maturing. With a small budget or a large one, philanthropy allows you to express your values and connects you to the world on new terms.

9. Long-term care: A plan in mind

Kaspars Grinvalds / Shutterstock.com

By our 50th birthday, it occurs that maybe — just maybe — we really will get old. Since many of us will end up needing skilled nursing care at least for a short time in our old age, managing your finances requires considering how to pay for it.

Long-term care insurance can be an excellent tool. But whether it’s right for you depends on several things. Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson lays out the considerations in “Ask Stacy: Should I Buy Long-Term Care Insurance?”

10. Mortgage: End in sight

Lolostock / Shutterstock.com

Entering retirement with a paid-off mortgage is a smart goal. Tearing up the mortgage before retirement was commonplace a couple of generations ago. Not everyone can pull it off these days, but the rewards are great.

You’ll require less income. If your mortgage eats one-quarter or more of your monthly pay, you’ll effectively enjoy a raise of that much.

For help reaching this goal, see “7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years Earlier.”

11. Insurance: Reviewed and adjusted accordingly

GaudiLab / Shutterstock.com

Life changes, and so should your insurance. If your children or spouse would be lost without your salary, get enough life insurance to carry them through if you die.

When your children are launched in careers and you and your spouse are nearer retirement, you may be able to drop your life insurance policy.

If losing your salary would be financially devastating, cover the risk with disability insurance.

Take a look at your health insurance policy and home and auto insurance limits, too. Is the coverage still appropriate?

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
What Is Umbrella Insurance, and Do I Need It?
What Is Umbrella Insurance, and Do I Need It?

Umbrella insurance picks up where other policies leave off. Here’s how to know if you need it.

19 Purchases That Buyers Almost Always Regret
19 Purchases That Buyers Almost Always Regret

Think twice before buying these things.

New Ways to Save Money on Insurance of Every Kind
New Ways to Save Money on Insurance of Every Kind

Tech startups are making it easy to find the best rates for all kinds of insurance policies.

3 Easy Ways to Get Laundry Soap for Nearly Nothing
3 Easy Ways to Get Laundry Soap for Nearly Nothing

Not using any of these methods for saving on laundry detergent? Then, you are washing money down the drain.

8 Things You Can Buy for $1 or Less on Amazon
8 Things You Can Buy for $1 or Less on Amazon

They say you get what you pay for — but not always. Sometimes, you can uncover a good deal at a great price.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Vacuums from this brand can last a half-century, if not longer — and they’re hot on the resale market.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon
36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon

The writing is on the wall for dozens of things we have grown up with.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

8 Federal Income Tax Breaks for Homeowners
8 Federal Income Tax Breaks for Homeowners

Some of these deductions and credits are available to a wide swath of homeowners.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

17 Surprising Things You Can Sell for Extra Money
17 Surprising Things You Can Sell for Extra Money

You probably don’t realize these items are worth decent cash.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

10 Types of Retirement Income That Are Not Taxable
10 Types of Retirement Income That Are Not Taxable

There are lots of things Uncle Sam can’t touch — so long as you play by the rules.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home
6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home

Stashing money around the house is anything but harmless.

These 5 States Are the Most Expensive Places to Retire
These 5 States Are the Most Expensive Places to Retire

If you expect to have modest retirement income, you may want to avoid spending your golden years here.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.