Worst money mistakes to make in your 50s

Money experts say failing to pay off the mortgage and save for retirement are the biggest mistakes people can make in their 50s.

Sharon Giblett, a financial adviser at Jigsaw Solutions, says more and more people are getting to 65 with a mortgage still to be paid.

But it doesn’t have to be that way if you tackle the debt ahead of time.

“It’s all about prioritising.”

That could mean cutting back on holidays and dinners out now to ensure you don’t end up with a baked bean existence in retirement.

She urges people to start looking ahead and thinking about what their retirement might look like – what kind of budget they might have and what things will cost.

But she admits it’s hard to think about funding a 30 year period of not working and that scares a lot of people.

“Yes it can be hard to be honest and face up to what your situation might be.”

Peter Lee, an adviser with C2C Partners, says people in their 50s are often faced with a major shock or change in their lives – if they haven’t already had one.

That could be the death of a parent, marriage split up or job loss.

If you were expecting to work full-time in a well-paying job into your 60s this can be turned on its head if ill health or redundancy hits.

Lee says another mistake can be going self-employed and assuming you will sell the business at 65 to fund your retirement.

Whatever your situation he insists the best approach is to have a plan B in case it doesn’t work out as you expect.

“If you have a business – remember to put aside money elsewhere so you have got that to fall back on.”

Simon Hassan of Hassan & Associates also has a warning for those with adult children.

Except in desperate situations once they are adults your children should fend for themselves.
Simon Hasssan

Instead he says investing surplus income for your retirement should be key.

“Once your mortgage is gone and your children are independent, you can afford to really ramp up your savings.

“This might mean the difference between just surviving and being comfortable in retirement.”