Retirement Planning in Your 50s: Focus on Lifestyle

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Please note the publish date of this blog. Financial information, market conditions, and other data mentioned in this post may no longer be accurate or relevant.

Your 50s are a vibrant decade. You’re likely in the heyday of your career, you’ve established a strong support network, grown in your confidence, and have the backing of a half-century of wisdom guiding your next steps.

Your 50s are a pivotal time to grow personally, build wealth, and prepare for the next phase of your life: retirement.

Retirement planning in your 50s is like driving down an empty highway with the wind at your back and the sun warming your face — you’re in the driver’s seat and free to create your own map to chart the exciting course to come.

One solid way to enhance a retirement plan in your 50s is to start to visualize your ideal retirement lifestyle. These three tips can help.

1. Set Goals that Motivate You

While many people in their 50s work hard to ensure they’re financially ready to retire, far fewer plan for their emotional preparedness. 

According to a retirement insights survey by Greenwald Diversified Services, 74% of people ages 50-59 have made earnest efforts to plan financially for retirement but only 35% have given the same care to their emotional preparation. Establishing goals that light a spark under your retirement ambitions is an essential first step.

With retirement appearing on the horizon, start setting some concrete goals for your golden years. How can you develop meaningful goals for your retirement plan? Grab a pen and paper and jot down your answers to the following questions:

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What parts of retirement are you most excited about?

Do you dream of spending all day in your garden and selling your vegetables at the farmer’s market? Are you wishing for a grandchild you can help care for? Or perhaps you have a dream to live abroad or travel the world. 

No matter the spark, now is the time to think about what excites you most. Your answers can help inform your transition and solidify goals, like living closer to your children or moving to a place with the longest vegetable growing season. 

What worries you about retirement? What’s at the heart of these concerns?

Retirement planning doesn’t only address what you’re most looking forward to; it’s also about adequately addressing your concerns. Money is a common concern for many people. Working with a financial advisor can help get you set up with a proper retirement plan. 

Maybe you’re worried about not working because your career has been a significant (and positive) part of your identity, social connections, and drive. In that case, perhaps a complete exit from the workforce shouldn’t be Plan A. 

Your retirement plan should be personal to your goals, hopes, ambitions, and dreams for the future. 

What do you love most about your life today (and how will you continue to bring these positives into your golden years)?

Yes, retirement is a big change, but you don’t have to upend everything in your life. Be sure to make time for what brings you joy, like Sunday family dinners, yoga classes with friends, personal time to pursue a hobby, and learning new skills. The more you honor your values, the less abrupt the transition will feel. 

With goal setting, sometimes it’s easier to paint a big picture and then fill in the smaller details to help bring color and dimension to your vision.

2. Visualize Your Ideal Retirement Life

Even though you’ve spent decades building your life and career, many in their 50s aren’t on the cusp of retirement — often, there’s still a decent amount of runway left. This can make planning and prioritizing that transition a challenge, especially if you have other responsibilities like caring for an aging family member or supporting your children.

A simple yet highly effective tool to bring retirement back into focus is actively visualizing how you want your life to look. Picture your “golden year” self and ask: 

  • How do I spend my time?
  • What is a typical day?
  • How do I find purpose, meaning, and joy in each day?

Visualizing your ideal life in 10 to 15 years can spark the necessary motivation to build habits that help you get there, like saving more money, making financially conscious choices, eliminating debt, and prioritizing your future self.

3. Consider Your Career

Many people in their 50s find themselves in a transitional career period — they’ve built up significant clout and are in their peak earning years, but they’ve been at it for so long they may also be wanting a change.

If you find yourself here, this is a critical moment to assess your career path and decide if there are any changes you want to make. Think through these questions:

How long do you want to keep working?

Creating a loose timeline around career objectives can help you plan for retirement both financially and personally. 

If you want to retire sooner, you might need to ramp up some additional investing efforts or revisit your retirement spending plan. Retiring early also comes with essential considerations like acquiring healthcare coverage, cash flow planning, investment planning, and more. 

Or maybe you’ll decide to work a year or two longer than you initially planned (or maybe you’ll never stop working at all). Working an extra year or so opens up time to invest in your retirement accounts, potentially boost future Social Security benefits, and give your budget some wiggle room. 

Do you want a job change or a career transition?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a historic 4.5 million people have quit their jobs since November 2021. Many cite getting more serious about aligning their work with their values as a core reason for the split. 

People are looking for jobs that bring fulfillment along with a steady paycheck. 

  • Are you satisfied with your current job?
  • If not, what’s missing?
  • Do you need a career change to find fulfillment? Are you interested in opening your own business?
  • If you’re considering a career change, how would your benefits like retirement plans, pensions, stock options, and more be impacted?

Keep in mind, it’s prudent to make a financial plan for any significant change. Say you’re considering a job with a lower salary; how will that impact your savings and investment timeline? What if you need up-front capital to fund a business venture? Would doing that mean taking on additional debt or selling valuable assets?

When you have clarity around your goals and values, Abacus can help you explore multiple scenarios and clearly lay out the pros and cons of each option, so you can walk into your new situation with confidence. 

If you want a change but don’t want to jeopardize your current position, check your company’s offerings for continuing education. Many employers will sponsor your pursuit to grow and develop your career. Find a course or two that sounds interesting and talk with your manager. 

In your 50s, you want to strike the right balance between maximizing your peak earning years and prioritizing your professional development. Remember, not every choice has to be about prioritizing your future. You should use your money and resources so you feel like you have “enough,” now and for years into the future.  

Make Your Lifestyle an Essential Part of Your Retirement Plan

Retirement planning in your 50s is an exciting adventure. You have so many options, and it’s up to you how you want your dreams to grow. 

Planning for your ideal lifestyle today, tomorrow, and into the future takes work, but it’s invigorating, meaningful work that will help you live a life of purpose. 

Our team would love to show you how we expand what’s possible with your money and how you can use it to build a life you love today and tomorrow. 

To explore your retirement lifestyle plan, connect with us today.


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