May 7, 2024

Are You Turning 65 and Not Financially Prepared for Retirement? Do This

As you approach the age of 65, the reality of retirement becomes more imminent. For many, this milestone can be met with excitement and anxiety, especially if you feel unprepared financially. If you find yourself in this position, don't worry—it's never too late to improve your financial situation. Here are some practical steps to secure your financial future as you approach retirement.

  1. Assess Your Financial Situation

Begin by taking a thorough inventory of your current financial state. This includes listing all your assets (savings, investments, property, etc.), debts, and expected income streams in retirement, such as Social Security, pensions, or part-time work. Understanding where you stand financially will give you a clear picture and help you plan more effectively.

  1. Maximize Your Retirement Contributions

If you're still working, take full advantage of retirement accounts like IRAs or 401(k)s. For those over 50, catch-up contributions are allowed by the IRS, enabling you to save additional amounts above the standard limit. For 2024, you can contribute an extra $1,000 to IRAs and an additional $7,000 to 401(k)s. These contributions not only boost your savings but also provide tax advantages.

  1. Delay Social Security Benefits

While you can start receiving Social Security benefits at 62, delaying them can significantly increase your monthly retirement income. For each year you delay past your full retirement age (which is 67 for those born in 1960 or later), your benefits grow by about 8% until you reach age 70. This strategy can offer you a much higher lifetime income.

  1. Downsize Your Lifestyle

Evaluate your current living situation and spending habits. Downsizing can mean moving to a smaller home or a less expensive area to reduce living costs. Also, scrutinize your daily expenses and cut down on unnecessary spending. The money saved can be redirected into your savings or used to cover essential expenses in retirement.

  1. Consider Part-Time Work or a Phased Retirement

Consider continuing to work part-time or asking your employer about phased retirement options, in which you gradually reduce your hours. This can not only help you save more but also make the transition to retirement smoother, both financially and emotionally.

  1. Consult with a DWAM Financial Advisor

Navigating retirement planning can be complex, especially if you're starting later. A DWAM financial advisor can provide personalized advice based on your circumstances, help you understand various investment options, and develop a comprehensive plan to manage your finances during retirement.

  1. Educate Yourself About Medicare

Healthcare costs in retirement can be significant. At 65, you are eligible for Medicare, but it's essential to understand what is and isn't covered. Consider purchasing additional health insurance like Medigap or Medicare Advantage plans to cover expenses that Medicare does not.

  1. Develop a Withdrawal Strategy

Plan how you will withdraw from your savings and retirement accounts. It's crucial to make your savings last throughout retirement. Strategies such as the 4% rule, where you withdraw a fixed percentage of your portfolio each year, can be a starting point. However, your strategy should be tailored to your needs and adjusted as necessary.


Turning 65 without feeling financially prepared for retirement can be stressful, but focusing on the steps you can take to improve your financial health is essential. You can work towards a more secure retirement by assessing your financial situation, maximizing your retirement contributions, and planning strategically. Remember, it's never too late to start, and every step you take now will help you enjoy your retirement years with fewer financial worries.

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