How do you invest for retirement in your 50s?

1 min read by Unbiased team Last updated June 28, 2024

Explore essential retirement planning strategies in your 50s, from maximizing contributions to managing debt.


  • Maximize contributions to 401(k) or 403(b) plans, especially catch-up contributions. 

  • Consider additional savings options like IRAs, HSAs, and taxable accounts. 

  • Plan for healthcare costs, including long-term care insurance and using HSAs strategically. 

  • A financial advisor can help you boost your savings and develop a retirement plan that works.  

How important is retirement planning in your 50s? 

Retirement investing in your 50s is pivotal to your future financial security.  

It’s imperative that you fine-tune your strategies to ensure a comfortable and secure future.  

The primary goal now is to transition from the accumulation phase to the preservation phase. This means protecting your nest egg from unnecessary risks while making sure it's adequately prepared to support you through retirement. 

During this decade, you should reassess your retirement goals and timelines. Understanding this will help you adjust your investment strategies accordingly.  

Also, think about the lifestyle you want in retirement and what it will cost.  

Saving money for retirement in your 50s requires clear goals and careful planning to meet those future needs. 

How do you evaluate your current retirement status? 

Evaluating your current retirement status and knowing how to catch up on retirement savings in your 50s is the first step in fine-tuning your retirement plan.  

Start by assessing your retirement savings.  

Are you behind, on track, or ahead of your goals?  

You can use a retirement calculator to get a clear picture.  

These tools consider factors like your current savings, expected future contributions, and estimated retirement expenses. Knowing how to catch up on saving for retirement in your 50s can provide a roadmap to bridge any gaps. 

Benchmark your progress against common retirement savings targets. A general rule of thumb is to have six to eight times your annual salary saved by the time you’re 50.  

How do you maximize retirement account contributions? 

Maximizing contributions to your retirement accounts is crucial when saving for retirement in your 50s.  

If you have an employer-sponsored plan like a 401(k) or 403(b), make sure you’re contributing enough to take full advantage of any employer match.  

If you're 50 or older, you're eligible for catch-up contributions, which allow you to contribute more than the standard limit.  

For 2024, you can contribute an extra $7,500 to your 401(k) or 403(b).  

Take advantage of these increased limits to bolster your retirement funds. Investing for retirement in your 50s can benefit greatly from these catch-up opportunities. 

Should I diversify and rebalance investment portfolios? 

As you approach retirement, it's essential to review and rebalance your investment portfolios.  

Your risk tolerance and investment horizon are likely different when investing in your 50s than they were a decade ago. Ensure your portfolio aligns with your current risk tolerance and that you’re not overexposed to high-risk investments. 

Diversification is key to mitigating risk. Spread your investments across different asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, and real estate. This strategy helps protect your portfolio from significant losses in any single market.  

Retirement investing in your 50s requires careful attention to asset allocation and risk management. 

What other retirement saving options should you consider? 

Beyond your employer-sponsored plans, consider additional retirement savings options.  

Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), including Roth IRAs, offer excellent tax advantages and growth potential. A Roth IRA, in particular, allows your investments to grow tax-free, and withdrawals are also tax-free in retirement. 

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are another powerful tool, especially for covering medical expenses in retirement. Contributions are tax-deductible, and withdrawals for qualified medical expenses are tax-free.  

Taxable investment accounts can also be beneficial, providing more flexibility than traditional retirement accounts.  

Knowing how to start investing in your 50s can open up new avenues for financial growth and security. 

How can you plan for healthcare costs? 

Planning for healthcare costs is critical when saving money for retirement in your 50s.  

Healthcare can be one of the most significant expenses in retirement, especially if you need long-term care. Consider buying long-term care insurance to protect your assets from being depleted by these costs. 

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) can play a strategic role here. If you have a high-deductible health plan, you can contribute to an HSA. These funds grow tax-free and can be withdrawn tax-free for qualified medical expenses, making them an excellent way to save for healthcare costs in retirement. 

Should you prioritize debt repayment alongside retirement savings? 

It is ideal to enter retirement with minimal debt. High debt levels can strain retirement income, reducing financial flexibility.  

First, focus on paying down high-interest debt, like credit cards. 

If you have a mortgage, consider whether it makes sense to pay it off before retiring. While it’s not always necessary, being mortgage-free can provide peace of mind and reduce your monthly expenses.  

Balance your debt repayment with retirement savings to ensure you’re not sacrificing one for the other.  

Understanding how to invest money in your 50s while managing debt effectively can help maintain a healthy financial balance. 

How do you review insurance needs? 

Reviewing your insurance needs is essential as you approach retirement.  

Life insurance, for instance, might be less critical if your children are independent and your mortgage is paid off. However, if you still have significant financial responsibilities, keeping adequate life insurance coverage is crucial. 

Investing in your 50s also involves reassessing your insurance coverage to match your evolving needs.  

Consider other forms of insurance, such as disability insurance, which can protect your income if you’re still working.  

As you near retirement, you may also want to explore supplemental health insurance to cover gaps in Medicare coverage. 

Should you review estate plans? 

An updated estate plan ensures your assets are distributed according to your wishes.  

Review your wills, trusts, and powers of attorney to ensure they reflect your current situation and intentions.  

If you haven’t already, consider setting up a living trust to avoid probate and manage your estate more efficiently.  

Including the best investments in your 50s in your estate plan can help secure your legacy and provide for your loved ones. 

Get expert financial advice 

Investing for retirement in your 50s is crucial. You can ensure a secure and comfortable retirement by evaluating your current status, maximizing contributions, diversifying investments, and addressing healthcare and debt concerns.  

Unbiased will connect you with a financial advisor for expert financial advice tailored to your unique retirement needs in your 50s. 


Unbiased team

Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing and retirement, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.