A 50th birthday is often characterized as a milestone moment. Despite that reputation, upon crossing the half-century threshold, individuals typically don’t feel that much different than they did when they were still a fun-loving 49-year-old. Though there might not be much to distinguish a 49-year-old from a 50-year-old, this milestone birthday is a good time reassess certain parts of life, including finances.
Conventional financial wisdom has long suggested reducing risk as retirement age draws closer. But a 2021 survey from American Advisors Group found that 18 percent of respondents indicated their intention to work past the age of 70, while another 12 percent indicated they have no plans to ever stop working full-time. Conventional financial wisdom rooted in retiring around the age of 65 may not apply to individuals who intend to work well past that age. That means recently minted fiftysomethings could benefit from adopting a new perspective on managing their money after they reach 50.
Work with a fiduciary. Fiduciaries differ from other financial advisors in a significant way. According to Investopedia, fiduciaries are legally bound to put their client’s best interests ahead of their own. Working with a fiduciary can provide peace of mind for individuals who want to know the person they’re trusting to guide their financial decisions is working on their behalf. That peace of mind can be especially valuable for individuals over 50 who don’t have as much time to make up for financial losses as younger people. Investopedia notes that some brokerage firms do not want or allow their brokers to be fiduciaries, so investors should make sure they’re aware of the legal responsibilities of anyone they trust to manage their money.
Monitor the progress of your retirement accounts. Tracking the performance of retirement accounts like a 401(k) and IRA takes on more significance after 50, even for individuals who don’t see themselves retiring anytime soon. Monitor how particular investments are performing and reallocate funds if certain ones have not performed well in some time. Most investments will go up and down, but people over 50 can monitor performance more closely than they used to so they get an idea of which ones are working for them and which could be compromising their ability to enjoy financial flexibility in the decades to come.
Resist the temptation to avoid stocks entirely. A recent study published in the medical journal The Lancet found that life expectancy, which has increased dramatically across the globe since 1900, is expected to continue increasing in developed countries in the decades to come. That means people won’t only be working longer, but living longer as well. Investors 50 and over can prepare for that longer life expectancy by utilizing the growth potential of stocks even after they hit the half century mark. Limiting exposure to risk after 50 is still important, but avoiding investment risks entirely could lead to a financial shortfall down the road.