How to retire at 50

1 min readLast updated January 24, 2024by Unbiased team

We find out how to retire at 50, exploring whether it’s feasible, how much money you might need, what the average retirement savings are at 50, and how you can save for early retirement.

Summary 

  • Retiring at 50 is difficult for the average American, but it can be done. 

  • You will need to save at least $1.75 million for a $50,000 annual retirement income. 

  • Early retirement plans can include saving, budgeting, incoming boosting, and investing. 

  • A financial advisor can help get you on the right track and save for an early retirement.  

In 2022, Gallup’s annual Economy and Personal Finance survey found that the average retirement age in the US is up to 61 from 57 in 1991. What’s more, the target retirement age of non-retired Americans is up to 66 from 60 in 1995.  

Despite this trend, some Americans want to know how to retire at 50 – and they plan on making it happen. Find out what to consider if you’re thinking about early retirement. 

Can I retire at 50? 

If you’re asking the question, “Can I retire at 50,” you’ll be glad to know that the answer is yes, although retiring at this age usually isn’t easy. 

Unless you earn millions of dollars every month, inherit a fortune, or win a massive jackpot, retiring at 50 requires more than living simply between your 20s and 40s. You might also need to save aggressively, invest strategically, find ways to increase your income and keep your expenses as low as possible. 

How much money do I need to retire at 50? 

One of the most common yet difficult-to-answer questions among those aiming for this goal is, “How much money do I need to retire at 50?”  

The answer is different for almost everyone, as it depends on a variety of factors, such as whether you own property, the cost of living in the state you retire in, and the type of retirement lifestyle you envisage for yourself. 

Some financial advisors say that you can calculate a figure that offers a basic idea of how much you should aim to save to retire at 50. Do this by multiplying the annual retirement income that you would like to receive by 35 years of retirement - the number of years until you reach 85. 

For example, if you want to ensure you have $50,000 per year or $4,166.67 per month in your retirement, multiply $50,000 by 35. The result is $1.75 million, which you will need to save before you turn 50.  

Being as realistic as possible when considering what your expenses might be during retirement will also help with these calculations. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual expenses of Americans aged 65 and older in 2021 were: 

 

ExpenseAverage Amount Spent In 2021
Housing $18,872
Utilities, fuel, public services $3,921
Health care $7,030
Transportation $7,160
Food at home $4,497
Personal insurance and pensions $2,850
Entertainment $2,889
Clothing and services $986
Total $48,205

What is the average retirement savings at 50? 

The Federal Reserve’s 2022 Survey of Consumer Finances found that the average retirement savings at 50 is $313,220.  

Vanguard’s 2023 How America Saves report’s finding was a more conservative $142,069.  

Regardless of which of these figures is closer to the truth, it would be a huge struggle, if not practically impossible, to retire at 50 if your savings are your only form of retirement income. 

Saving for retirement at 50: How do I do it? 

It’s essential to understand how to start saving for retirement at 50 if you want to avoid finding yourself without enough money to stop working full-time when you celebrate your big Five-O.  

These tips may help you get started: 

  1. Take time to envision the lifestyle you would like to have after retiring, being as realistic as possible. This can give you an idea of how much money you need to retire at 50, which you can use to create an early retirement plan. Your plan does not need to be limited to saving and investing but can also include options such as working part-time. Ask a financial advisor to help you create a comprehensive retirement plan. 

  2. If you are paid a large monthly salary, even investing modestly can lead to enough savings to take early retirement. However, if you don’t earn a large salary, you can consider using a more aggressive investment portfolio that is mostly made up of stocks, although they are volatile. A financial advisor can help you navigate retirement savings and investment options. 

  3. Traditional retirement savings accounts such as IRAs and 401(k) plans apply a 10% penalty for withdrawals you make before you reach 59 ½ years of age. If you retire at 50, you will need to make provision for the first 10 years of your retirement. Ask a financial advisor about traditional savings accounts, brokerage accounts, and more of the best ways to save for retirement at 50. 

  4. Review your expenses and find ways to boost your income. Every cent you can direct toward your early retirement plan can help you to reach your goal. Reduce or eliminate as many unnecessary expenses as possible, and consider asking for more work hours, finding a part-time job, or finding another way to make money on the side. 

Get expert retirement advice  

As you can see, knowing how to retire at 50 goes beyond finding the savings or retirement account with the best interest rate or living frugally for a few years.  

Saving some of what you already earn, reducing expenses, finding ways to boost your income, and saving your additional income certainly is part of it, but there’s much more to consider.  

Let Unbiased match you with an SEC-regulated advisor whose expert financial advice can help you plan for your future.  

Writers

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.