In Your 50s and No Retirement Savings?

Dear DTA,

I’m in a jam. Almost 60 years old with no retirement savings. Social Security won’t be enough. What can I do to quickly turn it around?

-Andrew B.

Hi, Andrew.

Thanks for writing in to us. It’s great to hear from our readers.

Our content is designed to help people take control of their money.

If you take care of your money, your money will take care of you. 

Now, you’ve not been taking great care of your money.

But you still have time to turn that around.

So don’t lose hope.

You do have to act quickly, however.

The information I’m going to provide you today is helpful and actionable.

And it’s coming from someone who accomplished a lot inside of a very tight time frame.

In fact, I went from below broke at 27 years old to financially free and retired at 33.

How? 

I lay it all out in my Early Retirement Blueprint.

As you can see, much can be accomplished in only a few years.

Now, a lot of what I did was extreme.

But if you want extreme output, you need extreme input.

And operating under a tight time frame (assuming you’d like to retire before you’re 80) puts us on the more extreme end of the spectrum.

What does this mean for you? 

Well, you’re almost certainly going to have to dramatically change your lifestyle.

If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting.

Old-school ideas like living below your means and intelligently investing your savings for the long term are still relevant today.

To kick-start the savings, so that you have money to invest, it makes sense to take a good look at some of your largest expenses.

Maybe your house is too much. A bus pass is a lot cheaper than a car. Eating in rather than eating at restaurants could save you hundreds of dollars per month.

Then you should be thinking about building some kind of passive income so that you don’t need a job for the rest of your life.

Jason Fieber's Dividend Growth PortfolioThere are many different kinds of passive income out there.

But dividends are my personal favorite.

I live off of dividends. More specifically, I live off of growing dividends.

The five-figure dividend income the FIRE Fund – my real-money early retirement stock portfolio – generates for me covers my living expenses.

I built the Fund using a very simple investment strategy.

That strategy is dividend growth investing.

It advocates investing in world-class enterprises that pay reliable and growing cash dividends to shareholders.

You can find hundreds of these companies on the Dividend Champions, Contenders, and Challengers list.

Don’t worry.

There’s no steep learning curve here.

Fellow contributor Dave Van Knapp, through his Dividend Growth Investing Lessons, deftly explains what this strategy is, why it’s so great, and how to successfully execute it.

I know this is a lot to throw at you. I know you’re almost 60.

But please don’t assume it’s too late to start saving and investing.

You could make a lot of headway between now and your mid-60s if you approach it aggressively.

What if you can’t or don’t want to save and invest? 

Well, you still have some options, Andrew.

You mentioned Social Security not being enough.

It’s possible to increase your Social Security monthly benefit payment permanently by delaying retirement until 70.

For every year past your full retirement age that you delay collecting SS, you can boost your payout by 8%. This is allowed until age 70. 

So if your full retirement age is 67, you can boost your SS benefit by a full 24% by waiting until 70 to retire and claim benefits.

Waiting three years to retire could have a significant impact on the payout.

For example, a $1,500/month benefit at 67 would rise to $1,860 per month at 70.

Plus, that gives you a few extra years to save and invest on the side.

Another option for you? 

Work a part-time and enjoyable job. 

If your Social Security alone isn’t enough, you can easily supplement this with part-time work.

We all need a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

Finding something you like doing with your time is absolutely necessary to the enjoyment of any retirement and avoiding boredom.

All the better if you can get paid for it!

What about something really outside-the-box?

I’m going to throw you a curve ball here.

It might not work for you. But it’s something worth at least considering.

You could retire overseas.

That’s right.

Move abroad.

I can tell you that I decided to move to Thailand at 35 and live out my early retirement dreams abroad. 

It’s been a dream come true!

Now, it’s not for everyone.

But your Social Security payment would go much further in a place like Thailand, the Philippines, or Mexico.

My local purchasing power has been tripled.

Said another way, my lifestyle here in Thailand runs about 1/3 what it would cost in the United States.

If you’re expecting $1,500/month from Social Security, that could theoretically be “boosted” to $4,500/month in terms of what it actually buys at the local level.

And it’s not a problem to collect your SS money abroad.

I know you might feel a little bit stressed out, Andrew.

Don’t worry. You have options.

It’s not too late to start taking care of your money so that it will take care of you later.

But you must start taking care of your money today. 

I wish you luck and success.

Jason Fieber

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Disclaimer: Jason Fieber is not a licensed financial advisor, tax professional, or stock broker. Please consult with a licensed investment professional before investing any of your money. If your money is not FDIC insured, it may decline in value. To protect the privacy of our readers, any names published in this article are under aliases. In addition, text may be edited, omitted or paraphrased for grammar or length.