under $2,000, she has some $1,500 to build wealth with. Dunagan estimates that at age 62 she will collect more than $1,100 a month from Social Security, which is about what she makes now. If she is able to obtain the two-unit apartment building with her sister, the rental income will help to defray the costs of ownership. When she retires and is ready to travel back and forth more frequently to Florida, the unit can be vacated and used by her as a second home.
“When all the pieces come together, she should do extremely well,” he says.
The Advice For Your 50s
“The closer you get to retirement, the more you need to dial back risk,” says Dunagan.
A 50-50 split of stocks and fixed income investments while you’re in your 50s allows your retirement savings some room to grow while giving you a safety net of sorts. With the time approaching that you will need to draw on that money, having some measure of safety becomes an imperative for many people.
“However, if you are behind in your savings, you may need to continue to be more aggressive as an investor to make up for lost time,” he adds.
When you’re determining your asset allocation, consider all of your income—from Social Security, pensions, and elsewhere—to help determine how much risk is appropriate for you at this stage of your life. A possible portfolio mix might look like this: 20% large-cap, 20% mid-cap, and 10% small-cap stocks, plus 30% government bonds, 15% corporate bond funds, and 5% cash.
Ronald Gipson is living the good life. He’s been retired for six years and, at age 60, early retirement agrees with him.
He certainly deserves the fruits of his labor, having served Los Angeles County as a detective, deputy sheriff, and lieutenant in the sheriff’s department. However, after 33 years of high-intensity work he was ready to chill.
Gipson didn’t just leap without looking, though. “I read books and went to retirement seminars. I had to think about what life would be like with no overtime, no bonuses, and getting paid once a month,” he says. Gipson lives in Chino Hills, California, with his wife, Lesley, 56, a retired entrepreneur.
“I refused to retire early if the numbers didn’t work,” he adds. So far they have, thanks to a generous Los Angeles County pension system. For each year he worked, he earned points for retirement and was able to collect 94% of his highest pay, providing a six-figure income, which he gets for life, along with annual cost-of-living raises. If he dies before Lesley, she will get 60% of his pension. Gipson also contributed for 16 years to the 403(b) plan, which was worth $40,000 when he retired. His employer matched up to 30% of his contribution, so every quarter the Gipsons get some of that money and use it for extras, like traveling. “It’s not a whole lot, but it counts,” says Gipson.
The couple has no significant debt other than a 30-year mortgage. They use American Express charge