Is our generation teetering on a financial precipice .With a report out today highlighting the fact that one third of us are not saving for our futures, what are our options, and is too late, in our 50s, to create a secure financial future for ourselves?
Many of us who had anticipated retiring at 60 have had to face the fact that we will now have to work until our late 60s and possibly even our 70s before we are able to draw a state pension. Also, with adult children needing financial help for longer, often seeing us as the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ and escalating daily costs most people are feeling the strain.
So what are our financial options?
Karen Pine offers some great advice in her book Sheconomics, helping us to examine our own relationships with money, and guiding us through how best to make the most of what we have. Another excellent book is The Rules of Wealth by Richard Templar. He talks about being realistic in our financial expectations, defining what our needs actually are and setting specific goals to achieve them. He offers useful exercises and tips to help work towards financial goals – and he stresses that it is NOT too late at 50 to create a solid financial plan – even by making small changes.
We need to know where we’re at, what we have, what we need to spend each month to live, and what we want to do with our money and our lives in the future.
When it comes to spending, do you have yours under control. Many of us (and I know that I am possibly one of the worst culprits when it comes to clothes!) , cannot resist impulse buys- in Richard’s book he talks about waiting a week when you see something you are tempted to buy – then decide if you really want or need it. He also talks about the mindsets of the truly self- made wealth creators – they are more likely to be reading the financial pages of the press than the more frivolous sections, and are good at seeing the bigger picture – denying yourself that cappuccino is will not make a difference in your overall wealth, says Richard!
Many people in business have mentors, Richard also suggests having a ‘money mentor’ (not to be confused with a financial advisor) someone who has proven financial acumen and made some money for themselves who you can discuss your financial plans with.
When it comes to pensions and financial planning understanding the jargon can be confusing. I often refer to the FAQ sections on websites offering financial products for the over 50s and advice Aviva (Life Over 50s) is one example, and you can often find excellent reports and summaries in their ‘press’ sections.
Ensuring we have the skills to be marketable, whether in employment or in our own businesses over 50 is essential , as is the investment in our own health. Keeping active is key, with an emphasis on improving and maintaining flexibility so that we can be productive and independent for longer.
None of us, however, can afford to take a short term view. As hard as it may, be we do need to assess our options honestly and frequently if we are to work towards any level comfort in our old, and hopefully happy and healthy old age!
If you have any money saving tips, do feel free to share them!