Money Empire

Retire by earning $1 million before the age of 50


Facing retirement at age 50 with only $1000,000 in savings may make you feel anxious. For many, half a million dollars isn't enough to fund 20 or even 30 years in retirement.

But remember, you're not alone in feeling behind on your retirement savings.

"The reality is that many Americans have under-saved for retirement," says Douglas Ornstein, a financial advisor at Integrated Solutions at TIAA Wealth Management in Charlotte, North Carolina. "According to median retirement savings by age, most Americans don't have enough saved for retirement to replace 70% to 80% of their pre-retirement income."

"This is a challenge given that people are living longer and want or need to leave the workforce in their mid-60s," Ornstein adds. "That can be decades without earning income, so they need savings and Social Security to cover the costs of living."

Calculate Your Retirement Income and Outflows

"Retiring at 70 with only $500,000 in savings may be anxiety-inducing, but remember that many others share this concern. According to data, most Americans don't have enough saved for retirement to replace 70% to 80% of their pre-retirement income. This is challenging as people are living longer and want or need to leave the workforce in their mid-60s. To address this, consider calculating how much money you'll need for your specific situation, factoring in Social Security payments and potentially working part-time in retirement."

Understand Your Retirement Picture

"Even with $1000,000 in savings, the retirement needs of each person vary depending on their lifestyle and expenses. It's not a one-size-fits-all approach," says Deanna LaRue, a certified financial planner at Timewise Financial LLC in Woodstock, Georgia. "When working with clients to plan for retirement, we focus on five key areas: insurance planning, cash flow analysis, retirement lifestyle planning, estate planning, and tax management."

Consider a Part-Time Job or Generating Passive Income

"The decision to work part-time after retirement depends on the individual and how much time and energy they have. With the rise of the gig economy, it's now easier to find side jobs outside of regular working hours, such as driving for Uber or completing paid online surveys. Some people may also choose to rent out their homes through platforms like Airbnb. Note that building passive income streams takes time and effort, and may require using a significant portion of the $1000,000 to set it up."

Consider Social Security Timing

"Deciding when to claim Social Security is a complex issue for those with limited retirement savings. If you're over 70 and haven't claimed Social Security yet, there's no benefit in waiting. Those who start taking Social Security at 62 get the minimum payout, while those who wait until 70 get the highest rate.

If you're nearing Social Security eligibility and plan to retire at 70, when to claim Social Security is a personal decision based on your financial needs. Generally, the longer you wait to claim Social Security, the larger your monthly check will be. If you can wait until 70 and have $500,000 saved for retirement, claiming Social Security at the maximum age can maximize your Social Security payout and boost your total retirement income."

Monitor Your Progress

"At least once a year, take the time to review all aspects of your retirement plans."

"Did you stick to your budget, or did you make an extra $10,000 withdrawal to help your children with their expenses? Did you pay off your mortgage, reducing your expenses? Did any major health issues arise that might affect your budget and/or family?"

Also, make sure to check your investments. "Consider if you're taking on more risk than you can handle, and think about adjusting to a safer portfolio," she advises.

It's also a good idea to review your life insurance policies starting at age 70 and continue doing so regularly. "We often buy life insurance and then forget about it," LaRue says. "What kind of policy do you have? Who would depend on your Social Security income if something happened to you?"

Finally, review your long-term-care insurance policy if you have one. "If you've decided to self-insure, you'll want to prepare for future expenses and/or Medicaid planning," LaRue adds.