Your Fabulous Fifties

Folks in their 50s are typically in a time of life when they are getting pulled in multiple directions. Many still have kids at home, but some are preparing to send their oldest offspring to college or career training. At the same time, they may also be anticipating the need to care for older parents or other relatives.

Folks in their 50s are typically in a time of life when they are getting pulled in multiple directions. Many still have kids at home, but some are preparing to send their oldest offspring to college or career training. At the same time, they may also be anticipating the need to care for older parents or other relatives. Career-wise, they’re often in their peak earning years, either by having risen through the ranks in their industry or by hitting their stride in a self-owned business. Taxes are becoming more of a concern, and making sure they are prepared for the future is also top of mind.

I should know. In my personal experience, the 50s have been a time for a lot of re-thinking—not just financially, but in my whole approach to life. As a person who lost my father when he was 49 and a sister at 37, I probably have a different perspective than most.  I can tell you that realizing you’ve already lived longer than one of your parents can provoke a lot of reflection and rethinking. It makes you think more about living in the present and making the most out of your time. I tend to place more value on traveling, seeing the world, and living out my purpose.  I am extremely blessed to have a career that not only provides purpose but also provides the flexibility to do some things, work remotely, and work longer. Such a view involves a different approach to spending and saving than that taken by someone who is intent upon retiring at a specific age or date and walking away completely from a career. Both goals are valid and important but indicate a different set of priorities and, consequently, a different set of strategies.

No matter what, keep in mind that You may have a lot of life ahead of you, but the amount of time that you have to financially prepare, is getting shorter and less certain.

I recently participated in a short exercise that I thought was going to be cheesy but ended up shedding some light.  In a group setting, we were asked to close our eyes and imagine ourselves at age 90—about forty or so years from now. We were asked to think about ourselves at that end of the age spectrum and what we would like to be able to look back on. We were asked to think about what we would have liked to have accomplished, how we would enjoy spending our time, how we wanted to be remembered and our legacy.  For me, it was helpful to imagine a future and contemplate changes I would like to make.  What would your future look like?  You may want to take a moment and give it a try.

Making a Plan

Having a map without a destination is not the most helpful tool. That’s why asking yourself questions like those above is so important; in fact, it’s the only way you can start to design a strategy that’s right for you.

While retirement is probably what most people think about, it’s not the only worthwhile possibility. Someone like me might be willing to work a little longer if they want to allocate more assets toward personal fulfillment in the nearer term. For that individual, having the right mix of liquid assets and growth-producing taxable investment accounts could provide resources for achieving more of their imagined possibilities, sooner rather than later. At the same time, they do not want to miss out on the tax-advantaged vehicles that could provide valuable growth potential for the future.  In addition, their plan will likely need to incorporate more life and disability insurance, to provide for those they care about in the event of premature death or incapacity. It is a balancing act, that takes careful planning and adjusts.

On the other side of the coin, someone who has a set aim of retiring at a certain age would need a different approach. The focus becomes ensuring enough savings to provide the needed amount of income once they’ve stopped working. This will involve consideration of tax liability, both now and during retirement. Those who intend to retire before age 59 ½ will need access to funds in taxable accounts until they are eligible to begin withdrawing from tax-advantaged retirement accounts. They may also want to focus on maximizing contributions to tax-advantaged retirement accounts. This might involve catch-up contributions to IRAs, 401(k), 403(b), and  back-door Roth IRA contributions.  Retiring at an earlier age and delaying Social Security can provide significant tax savings opportunities.  In this case, those individuals, who have filled buckets in taxable accounts, pre-tax retirement accounts (IRAs and 401ks), and Roth IRAs may have the flexibility to withdraw assets at very low tax rates, opportunities to convert IRAs to Roth IRAs, and maybe even get their health insurance paid for by tax credits through the ACA (Affordable Care Act).  Disability insurance may no longer be needed, and life insurance may become less of a necessity, but long-term care may jump to the front of the line.  Carefully considering when to take Social Security will be an important exercise.  There are many factors that weigh in to this decision, such as income needs, tax brackets, part-time work, and life expectancy.

Again, knowing where you want to be in the future is the first step to establishing a thoughtful and detailed plan that will help you achieve your goals.

Don’t Get “Sandwiched.”

Many in their 50s are candidates for membership in the “sandwich generation”: those who are simultaneously taking care of children still at home and facing responsibility for the care of aging parents or other older family members. So, it may be important to ask clarifying questions like these:

  • How involved can I afford to be in my kids’ finances, once they’re out on their own (and have appropriate expectations been set)?
  • What resources do my aging parents have, and what plans (legal, financial, other) have they put in place?
  • Do I have adequate insurance (of the right types) to take care of my family and myself?
  • Should I be looking at long-term care insurance (LTCI) for myself or someone I care about?

The point is this: to get the answers that are right for you, it’s necessary to ask the right questions. At Curio, we believe in the power of asking the right questions. That’s why our client relationships are built on an open-ended process of discovery; the more we know, the better we can help. To learn more, why not take a listen to Episode 34 in our podcast series, “Financial Security”? You can check it out by clicking here.





Important Disclosure: Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Curio Wealth, LLC [“Curio Wealth”]), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Curio Wealth. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. Curio Wealth is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the Curio Wealth’s current written disclosure Brochure discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request or at Please Note: Curio Wealth does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to Curio Wealth’s web site or blog or incorporated herein, and takes no responsibility for any such content. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly. Please Remember: If you are a Curio Wealth client, please contact Curio Wealth, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services, or if you would like to impose, add, or to modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment advisory services. Unless, and until, you notify us, in writing, to the contrary, we shall continue to provide services as we do currently. Please Also Remember to advise us if you have not been receiving account statements (at least quarterly) from the account custodian.

Other Articles You Might Like

subscribe to our newsletter

Your Financial Journey Starts Here

Embark on a path of financial clarity and strength. Schedule a meeting with our team, and together, let’s shape a secure and prosperous future tailored just for you.