Many people over age 50 look closely at their lives for the first time in decades, if ever. Perhaps you finally have the time to breathe and reflect for a moment, instead of chasing the kids around and doing all the work of raising a family. While you are at the looking glass, look not only at your life today. Also think also about how you want your future life to be. Realizing what you want from your second half-century, is the first step in achieving your best life after 50.
Be in Control of Your Finances
If you have high anxiety about money and feel you must work until the day you fall over at your desk, you are not living your best life. It is not too late to get a grip on your money. These steps can improve your financial picture:
- Meet with a fee-only financial planner and develop a game plan for your financial security. If setting a budget is a challenge for you, develop one with your financial planner or use an online budgeting tool.
Improve your credit score. It is easy to raise your credit score using online tools and apps. It costs you money every month that your credit score is less than Excellent, because your credit cards and other debt will carry a higher interest rate proportional to your credit score. When you raise your score, you can negotiate better terms on your debt. They know you can now take your business elsewhere, so they will usually work with you.
- Save, don’t spend. You should allow yourself a little splurge now and then. However, the more money you have saved when you are ready to retire, the better you will sleep at night.
- Get your papers in order. Meet with an elder law attorney to prepare the legal documents that can make your senior years more secure. A healthcare directive, financial power of attorney, and will or trust can help you and your loved ones avoid predictable crises.
Take Care of Your Physical and Mental Health
You put your family first for many years. It is now time to focus attention on yourself. The healthier you are, the more you will enjoy your golden years. Many people feel they can never achieve fitness and emotional balance. However, you can make massive strides forward, if you follow the “one little thing better a day” technique. Just do one thing a little better every day.
At the end of only one year, you have improved 365 aspects of your life. At the end of three years, there are over 1000 upgrades. If you park one row further away from the door of the store, for example, you have accomplished your “one little thing” for that day, and you can check it off of your To Do list.
If you struggled with mental health issues, get help now. Trying to tough it out or hoping it will magically go away on its own are recipes for disaster. For your best life after 50, you must be both physically and mentally healthy.
As Jack Nicholson’s character typed obsessively in the movie The Shining, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Fun is undervalued today. Plan to have fun. Schedule fun. After decades of hard work, you deserve to do what brings you joy. It’s good for you.
Some leisure activities are more solitary, like writing a novel or painting a landscape. Try to mix in some activities with others, to stay engaged and connected as you age. Maintaining a social life is not only enjoyable, it can also help keep you mentally sharp.
Talk with an elder law attorney in your area about your local laws, because they might differ from the general laws in this article.
AARP. “10 Steps to Living Your Best Life at 50+.” (accessed April 7, 2018) https://www.aarp.org/entertainment/style-trends/info-10-2013/steps-to-living-best-life-after-50.html