Improving your finances is probably something that has been on your “to-do” list for several years now. It’s always something that you’ll do “tomorrow,” but you shouldn’t put it off any longer. It can be a daunting task, but it’s not nearly as scary as you think. We know that planning to overhaul all of your finances can seem like an overwhelming job, so we broke it down into much smaller tips that you can take one at a time.
As you approach retirement, it can be a bit worrisome, especially for women who have seen an enormous change over the years. Divorce, widowhood, and children can all affect your finances. Whether you’re well-off or working hard, here are seven financial tips for women over 50 that should be taken to heart.
Every woman needs to know where the financial documents for her family are kept. This is perhaps the single most important and often overlooked factor for a woman’s financial security and peace of mind. And while this is certainly not gender specific, in many families the husband will be the one to maintain financial documents such as insurance information, bank account numbers and stock portfolios. Every woman needs to know where these documents are kept and who the appropriate contacts are.
It’s a great idea for a couple to sit down and go over their financial documents, their locations and who to call in the event of a death or serious illness. This is also a good idea for single women. Sit down with the executor of your estate or the person designated in your living will and let them know where you keep your financial documents.
The simple fact of the matter is that, as retirement approaches, you’ve got to think about yourself. Women often try to cushion the financial blows family members can suffer, whether they work a second job to help their children pay off student debt or decide to put helping a friend in need over socking it away for retirement. But that only hurts you and your family in the long run: You’ll need to put yourself first for your family’s sake as well as your own.
We’ve all got a goal of some sort, whether it’s putting away enough money that we don’t have to worry about our finances when we retire, or saving a little extra for that trip you’ve always wanted to take. So, take a moment and ask yourself what you’re saving for. Then, take a look at your finances and figure out how close you are to meeting that goal. That should tell you both how far along you are, and what else you’re going to need to do before hitting milestones like retirement.
Now is the time to see how your investments are doing, and what you want out of them. Your portfolio might, for example, be a little too aggressive; or perhaps fixed-income investments might be giving you steady returns and building interest, but it’s not going to grow quite rapidly enough to meet your financial needs. Conversely, you might not be happy with the losses you’re seeing with a more aggressive plan, although long-term you may still need to take some smart risks in investing to reach the goals that are important to you. Look at how your investments are structured relative to your financial planning goals, and act accordingly.
It’s easy to forget; after all, you’ve probably been paying into it since high school. But those years of deductions for Social Security are about to pay off. Now is the time to call the Social Security department and talk about your projected benefit. Remember that you may qualify for benefits under your spouse or former spouse’s Social Security benefits as well, even if you only worked part-time. Talk to the Social Security Administration about your current benefit and what might be done to improve it.
Once you’ve reached the age of 50, you’re getting really close to retirement, but you may be scared that you haven’t saved nearly enough, but luckily, there are some ways that you can jump-start your savings. The easiest way is to take advantages of the Catch-Up provision that increases the amount that you can contribute to a Roth IRA.
For anyone under the age of 50, they can only deposit $5,500 every year, but if you’ve reached 50, the limit bumps up to $6,500 annual, which is an important number that you should always be trying to reach. A Roth IRA is one of the most useful financial tools that you should be using to build your retirement nest egg.
It’s important not to be sentimental with your assets. For example, if you find that the taxes on your home are going to be too much for your income, even if the mortgage is paid off, it might make fiscal sense to sell it, especially if you don’t need all the room. It may hurt some feelings, but in the long run, do what makes sense for you.
Remember, all the financial tips for women out there only make sense when applied properly. Let’s talk about what you can do to make your 50s, 60s, and beyond financially comfortable.
Your finances are one of the most important parts of your life. Love it or hate it, money controls just about everything. We know that taking control of your money can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. We are here to help walk you through the process to ensure that you’ve got a financial road map that will leave you to a comfortable future.