Over 50? Things You Should Be Doing, Financially, Emotionally and Physically.
You have made it to 50! Reaching the half-century is a normal period of your life to reflect and take stock in every area of life. Here are some tips ensuring you are prepared.
You have made it to 50! Reaching the half-century is a normal period of your life to reflect and take stock in every area of life. It is also an important time to start preparing for the future and in particular, retirement. Here are some tips ensuring you are prepared.
People worldwide are living longer. Staying healthy and feeling your best is even more important as your body and mind get older. Here are some tips to help you stay healthy
Lifting weights or running are two great ways to stay healthy. Not only that, but the older you get, the more your muscle tone begins to deplete. Strength-training can help to retain strength and fight osteoporosis. Running can help keep your heart healthy and tackle osteoarthritis.
Eating Less Meat
Eating red meat can increase your risk of dying from heart disease by as much as 24% percent.
Eat a Mediterranean diet
Colourful vegetables, wholegrains and fish can lower your risk of Alzheimer’s by up to 53%
Increasing your intake of vitamin D
Vitamin D supplements can help prevent osteoporosis, particularly in the winter months when there is bad weather.
This is the most important area to ensure planning is undertaken and you are prepared for the future. You are also now eligible for a whole range of over-50s products that are worth considering.
It is possible to buy ‘added years’ if you are not on course for the full basic state pensions – which is commonly the case for women, part-time workers and people who have worked abroad during their careers. Just reaching the state pension age does not mean you qualify or are entitled to the basic state pension. You can get your full forecase from the Pension Service by completed form BR19: thepensionservice.gov.uk
You can also seek advice from the HMRC national insurance enquiry line on 0845 302 1479, or the State Pension team on 0845 3000 168.
It is very common for people over the age of 50 to increase their pension contributions. You should contact your employer’s HR or pension department to enquire about additional voluntary contributions (AVCs).
Employers are required to put you into a pension with a minimum 3% contribution of your salary. If you have no savings, are well into your 50s and are renting, you may be better off opting out of the new "personal accounts".
Use today's low interest rates to accelerate your mortgage payments.
If you are in your 50s and racking up debt, you need help. Debt advisers include the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (0800 1381111); citizensadvice.org.uk (to find local CAB) and its adviceguide.org.uk for online advice; nationaldebtline.co.uk (0808 808 4000) and insolvencyhelpline.co.uk (0800 074 6918).
Are you receiving the correct tax credits? The HMRC tax credits helpline is on 0845 300 3900. A useful guide at tinyurl.com/childtaxcreditadvice shows how you can claim up to £2,235 for children up to 16 (or up to 20 if they are in full-time training or non-advanced education). Is your 16-year old eligible for educational maintenance allowance? It's worth up to £30 a week, and you can claim if your household income is no more than £30,810 a year. More details at ema.direct.gov.uk. Still, parents may need to toughen up and ask grown children living at home to contribute to household finances.
Caring for parents
Very elderly people, especially if they are single and not used to handling money, often have poorly organised finances. Making contingency plans before problems set in can save a lot of future problems and issues that may crop up.
Advisers often advise people to discuss their wills in advance with their heirs, especially if they want to leave differing amounts to different children. Major disputes can erupt afterwards if wills contain surprises. Avoid the probate trap, where you pay excessive costs to executors – usually banks. Inheritance tax planning starts to become an issue when the assets of parents are above £325,000. Parents can start giving away assets in one form or another to avoid tax, but the rules are complicated. We have an array of guides that can help guide you through this process:
Other areas of your life to organise may include:
Looking at downsizing, splitting up your savings, transferring your ISAs, tracking down any lost pensions, shopping around for car insurance and estimating what you might have to pay for elderly care.
Your Work Life
Work like might not necessarily end in your 50s. In fact, many people are choosing to work well into their 70s; with no mortgage and kids to take care of.
Quit Your Job
Why not consider quitting your job that you no longer like or choosing an alternative one that suits you better.
Refresh your IT skills
Technology has most likely advanced and you may not be as digitally-savvy as you use to be. Taking an IT course can help you get ahead and refresh your knowledge.
It’s not just a gap year for recent graduates; there are a lot of opportunities for over 50s abroad.
Other areas to consider might be: starting a business, becoming a mentor, volunteering in the community and learning a new skill or hobby.