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Financial Freedom

5 Steps to Building Wealth in Your 60s

Building wealth in your 60s is a different ballgame than in earlier stages of your life. That’s because there are now pressures to start withdrawing and using your retirement funds.

For many people, age 60 and up is when you start to seriously eat into your wealth. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can fully enjoy your retirement while continuing to build wealth as you age.

In this article, we will look at how building wealth in your 60s is different from when you were younger. And we will see that building wealth even while beginning to enjoy your retirement is more than possible.

A woman in her 60s who is happy in an office since she has been building wealth.

Building Wealth in Your 60s

Before we jump in, I encourage you to review my previous articles in this series:

Building wealth in each decade of your life is based upon the steps taken in previous years. But if you’re starting from scratch, I suggest you review the steps from your 20s and begin to take those actions. This will include doing things like…

  • Building an emergency fund
  • Eliminating bad debt, like credit cards
  • Cutting down on expenses and living within your means
  • Investing as much of your income as you can.

It’s never too late to start making all of those moves. But if you had been building a large nest egg throughout your life, you will be most prepared for this new stage of building wealth in your 60s.

The median net worth from ages 60 through 64 is $224,775. And for ages 65 through 69, it’s $209,575. This may seem like a lot, but it’s likely not enough to fund your retirement.

In order to make the most of your 60s, here are five steps you should take with your finances.

1. Delay Social Security

Social Security is going to be an important part of building wealth in your 60s. After all, the average monthly Social Security benefit is $1,503 – a significant amount of money.

It may be tempting to start collecting Social Security payments as soon as you’re eligible (at age 62). But if you can, it pays to wait, because the longer you wait, the larger your benefit will be. And this is true up to age 70. So if it’s possible, delay taking your Social Security benefits until you’re 70 – then you’ll find yourself gaining the most benefit from your distribution.

You’re eligible to earn Social Security if you’ve been working and paying taxes for 10 years or longer, and the amount your benefit will be is based on your highest 35 years of earnings.

Now, most likely, $1,503 per month is not going to be enough income to fund your entire retirement. Plus, there’s always the chance that the Social Security system will run out of money or be eliminated. So consider your Social Security benefit to be only part of your retirement income.

2. Make the Most of Medicare and Your Health

Healthcare is potentially your biggest expense in retirement. In fact, healthcare may cost you $300,000 or more in retirement, which is why enrolling in Medicare once you become eligible is important.

Navigating Medicare is a bit tricky, as there are different parts of the plan that cover different aspects of your healthcare, such as primary care, hospital stays and medication.

In addition, Medicare doesn’t cover long-term care. Therefore, you’ll have to find a way to pay for nursing home costs or other long-term expenses you accrue in your golden years.

So first and foremost, take good care of your health – as you should throughout your life. This is especially true in the era of COVID-19, but it’s also a good idea in normal times.

You’ll want to be able to enjoy your retirement even as you’re still building wealth in your 60s. Therefore, you need to be taking good care of both your body and your mind so that you can truly make the most of your golden years.

3. Keep Your Retirement Accounts Invested Through Your 60s

Throughout most of your life, the thought of taking money out of your retirement accounts should make you shrink back in horror. After all, the whole magic of investing for your retirement is taking advantage of compound gains. You should still do this for as many years as possible following your retirement. To see the power of compounding returns, check out our free investment calculator.

That said, there comes a time when you will be forced to start withdrawing money from your retirement accounts. But that time shouldn’t come until you’re around 72 years old.

The actual amount you will withdraw once that happens will be based on your life expectancy and the account balances in your retirement accounts, like your 401(k) and your IRA.

In the meantime, unless you absolutely need the money to live on, keep the money in your retirement accounts fully invested – which is still the best way to keep building wealth in your 60s.

Now, you may want to reallocate your portfolios so that you have less risk and more of your money invested in bonds and cash equivalents. But while this is the traditional strategy, there are other ways to do it.

4. Stick With Stocks for Building Wealth

Traditional wisdom states that by the time you reach your 60s, you’ll want most of your portfolio invested in less-risky assets like bonds or cash equivalents. But if you’re serious about building wealth in your 60s, I’d argue that this old-fashioned and outdated advice is now hogwash.

Let’s say someone retires at 60 and lives until 90 – that’s 30 years of retirement. That money will need to last the entire time. And while stocks aren’t the only potentially lucrative investment, there are fewer great options these days.

Government bonds are barely paying above bank savings rates. And even high-grade corporate bonds may earn you only a 2% return right now.

Gold, on the other hand, has performed well since the Great Recession, and it can indeed be a good safe haven for someone looking for a stock alternative.

However, stocks are still the best bet for the majority of your capital when building wealth in your 60s. Yes, you may take some short-term hits, but you’ll have the best chance of earning enough in returns to carry you through your retirement (and leave a legacy behind).

5. Live a Rich Life

Hopefully you’ve spent your life building wealth, so that by your 60s you’re merely coasting. But even if you’re playing catch-up at this time, you need to remember that life – and even wealth – is about more than just money.

Financial freedom is the ability to live the life you want without having to worry about money. But even if you still have some money concerns, it isn’t too soon to be living the life you want.

That can involve a number of different lifestyle choices. It’s different for everyone. Maybe you’re still dreaming of starting a business you never got around to launching earlier in your career.

Or maybe you’d rather spend your golden years enjoying lavish vacations and reading the Greek and Latin classics on beaches across the world.

Whatever your dream retirement looks like, it’s important to remember to take the time – and take action – in order to truly live the life you want. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Concluding Thoughts on Building Wealth in Your 60s

Building wealth in your 60s means both preserving what you have in your retirement accounts as much as possible and continuing to invest your money for growth and income.

In the final article in this series, forthcoming, I will explain the best practices for the money you still have invested in stocks. And there’s lots more where that insight comes from, so make sure to sign up for our free e-letter in the subscription box below.

Living a rich life is possible for you. But continuing to grow your money remains a key to living the remainder of your life exactly as you envision. So as you live your life fully, make sure to keep building wealth in your 60s.

Make sure to check out the concluding article in this series: 5 Steps to Building Wealth in Your 70s


About

Brian M. Reiser has a Bachelor of Science degree in Management with a concentration in finance from the School of Management at Binghamton University.

He also holds a B.A. in philosophy from Columbia University and an M.A. in philosophy from the University of South Florida.

His primary interests at Investment U include personal finance, debt, tech stocks and more.

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