Article By: Christine Roberts- Kelly MBA/CEO
As the grand milestone of the big 5-0 approaches this January, I find myself caught in a whirlwind ofintrospection – a cosmic audit, if you will. Finances, spirituality, career, relationships – it is a veritable buffet of contemplation. Sure, it felt weighty at times, but hey, it’s a landmark birthday. Now, I get it.
There are women out there at 50 who’ve mastered the art of adulting and are probably sipping wisdom-infused tea on a mountaintop somewhere. Then there are those who haven’t even peeked into the introspective rabbit hole. This isn’t a competition; it’s a collective journey. Consider this my gift to you,wrapped in the wisdom of the big 5-0: several financial nuggets to ponder. But fear not, I’ve sprinkled in some universal musings.
In their 50s, women face unique financial considerations that demand careful attention.
According to Synchrony bank, the average woman at 50 years old has saved about $48,200; therefore, prioritizing retirement savings is paramount. As retirement looms, diligent contributions to retirement accounts and investments become crucial for financial security. Maxing out annual contributions to 401ks, IRAs, and other tax-advantaged retirement plans can help women accumulate the nest egg required to maintain their retirement living standards.
In my 20s and 30s I didn’t give two shakes about healthcare insurance, but now I understand addressing healthcare costs is essential. Women in their 50s should assess their health insurance coverage, consider long-term care insurance (buy it early so it’s less expensive) and build an emergency health fund to navigate unforeseen medical expenses. As health needs rise with age, having robust insurance and financial reserves is critical to managing costs.
If you have read any of my other articles, then you already know that I shout from the rooftops that debt management is critical! Clearing high-interest debts and avoiding new ones can significantly contribute to financial stability. Start a plan to become debt-free before retirement; Paying off credit cards, auto loans, and other debts frees up cash flow to divert toward productive savings and investments.
I prefer to take calculated risks, as a result it took me some time to enter the “Market “. So, if you’re in the market, I suggest reassessing and adjusting investment portfolios. Considering a more conservativeinvestment strategy may be prudent to protect accumulated wealth from market volatility. Partnering with a financial advisor to shift towards lower-risk securities can help safeguard assets. Fun fact – I am from the Caribbean so estate planning is not something I was familiar with. My idea of estate planning consisted of a handwritten letter in the top drawer of my desk. No judgment please. But once you know better, you do better and I’ve realized that not just for me, but for many other women, estate planning is often overlooked. Women should ensure their wills, trusts, and beneficiary designations are up to date, and reflecting current wishes. And if you don’t have a will, get one! Engaging an estate planning attorney to construct a comprehensive plan account for the distribution of assets, designation of healthcare proxies, and nominating guardians for any minor children.
I personally feel like the 50s are the sandwich years, we can be caught between caring for children and caring for our aging parents. Exploring potential sources of passive income can provide additional financial security. This might
include rental properties, dividends, or other investments that generate income without active
involvement. Building streams of passive income allows women to supplement other retirement income sources.
As a mom of two adult sons, and they are a part of my continuous financial education. In my case, I find their generational perspective to be valuable, allowing me to be exposed to emerging markets. Staying informed about market trends, tax regulations, and financial planning strategies empowers women to make informed decisions about their financial future. Reading financial publications, and seeking professional advice can all expand financial acumen.
Now that We have done the financial work for let’s focus on what I referred to as the WOO work.
In this next chapter of life , I am enthusiastic about embracing the inner work.
On the spiritual front, cultivating gratitude, mindfulness, and self-acceptance can bring a sense of fulfillment and perspective. The transition to middle age can prompt reflection on mortality and legacy.
Connecting with a supportive community or engaging in meditation, prayer, or journaling can enhance overall well-being by grounding women in a mindful presence. Letting go of self-criticism and practicing gentle self-compassion has personally been difficult; but y’all let’s lean into being kind to ourselves. As we age friendships can become more important and yet I’ve found them harder to form. Embracing fulfilling relationships, maintaining open communication and healthy boundaries is foundational. Nurturing solid connections with family and friends contributes to emotional well-being and provides a support system during life’s challenges. Setting reasonable expectations and limits allows women to balance caring for others with caring for themselves. As an entrepreneur, this concept of cultivating a healthy work-life balance can at times get slippery for me. Balancing professional and personal commitments ensures that meaningful connections are not sacrificed, as an empty nester, I was able to be a little more flexible in pursuing roles that align with personal values and promoting fulfillment. The empty nest marks an ideal time to pivot.
This last tip is a big one at any age ..Invest in YOURSELF . It can open new opportunities and bolster professional and personal confidence.
Prioritizing retirement savings, managing healthcare costs, eliminating debt, securing assets through estate planning, and adjusting investment allocations set the financial course for security. Ladies let’s be ready to rock our 50s and beyond.
So cheers ..
Here’s to the symphony of birthdays in 2024 – mine and yours. May we all raise a glass to the beautiful cacophony (love this word) of life’s reflections! Please share your insights; I’m eager to learn how you infused more intentional meaning into your life at each milestone chapter.