Okay, I know that money is one of those topics we're not supposed to discuss at cocktail parties (along with religion and politics and so on and so forth) ... but ... we're not at a cocktail party.
We're in real life. Midlife, in fact. And we need money.
If you don't have a plan... it's time to think about creating one. We don't want to be in our 50s, 60s and beyond without enough money to take care of ourselves.
Where to start?
First, understand that even the most savvy, well-respected financial gurus don't know what the future holds. Will real estate values go back up to their prior levels? Some think so, most think not . . . but, really we don't know. And the stock market? It will continue to go up and down as it always has, according to Jason Zweig , one of the experts I consulted for my book, The Best of Everything After 50, and a Wall Street Journal columnist. To keep from going totally bonkers, Jason also strongly urged us to consider working with a money pro - a financial planner.
Do you need a financial planner?
Jason and AARP's Money Expert, Jane Bryant Quinn (another financial expert I interviewed for The Best of Everything After 50) strongly urge us to find a trusted financial planner we can work with for the long term. A financial planner can help us with our "life plan" and make sure we stick with one. Don't have one, and not sure how to find one? Jason and Jane suggest asking friends and family for suggestions. If that doesn't pan out, contact one of the fee-only financial advisers who offer their services on an hourly, as-needed basis, which will keep your costs way down.
You can do your own planning, but I urge you to get a professional to help - at least in the beginning - especially if there have been recent changes in your financial status (job loss or change, illness, divorce or marriage, and so on).
Whether you work with a planner or take the DIY route, having a plan will bring financial clarity to your life, and peace of mind. To help you get started, here are a few "back to basic" tips that Jane Bryant Quinn strongly urges us to follow and which she follows herself. (And check out Jane's latest column for AARP by clicking here). They are:
- Tighten your belt - stop spending and don't live above your means
- Stash it away - Put as much money as you can into your 401K and other retirement plans
- Hands off the house - Stop yourself from tapping into your home equity for cash
- Cut the cord - Stop helping your adult kids. Put money into your retirement fund first, and then the college fund
- Stay healthy - This generation of "after 50s" will most likely have to work many more years than we had expected, so we want to get and stay healthy
And remember this: We can't control getting older . . . but . . . we can control how we do it.
I want to hear from you! Leave your questions and ideas for living your best life after 50 in the comments section below. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and, of course, my blogs on AARP.org and www.bestofeverythingafter50.com. And please let me know what you'd like to see in future episodes of "The Best of Everything After 50"³! Thanks for reading and watching!
Also of Interest
- Help for 50-Somethings Short on Retirement Funds
- Age Wave Brings New Career Opportunities for Boomers
- Join AARP: Savings, resources and news for your well-being
See the AARP home page for deals, savings tips, trivia and more