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Saving for Retirement After Age 50

For the new readers here, I retired from medicine in 2016 at age 38. I still continued to do some income-generating work but at a much slower pace. I even continued to contribute to retirement accounts but never understood the value of saving for retirement after age 50.

Retirement Contributions After 50

I have a Solo 401k; in my 40s, I can only contribute $22,500 annually. Fast-forward a few years, and I can contribute $30k.

This catch-up contribution limit is why I’ve said that it makes sense to drop your earning potential in your 40s and focus on other aspects of life.

Shit Happens

I had already saved up enough by age 38 to live off the income. Of course, I had no intention of doing so like everyone else. And it wasn’t until 2 years ago that I finally stopped adding to my retirement accounts.

After pulling the plug on full-time work in 2016 and moving to Spain, I got called back to deal with a medical board investigation.

That event fucked me up in many ways; it threw me right back into burnout, and my pessimism caused me to want to save even more money.

Fortunately, when shit happens, it’s just shit, nothing more meaningful. All that mattered to me – my state of mind, my peace – was still in order.

20 Years of Compounding

The best time to start saving was yesterday. Well, if you love what you’re doing, the best time to save is almost never.

Our 40s could be a time when we pursue the love of our careers again. You cannot love any job enough to jump out of bed for it. But I’ll take it if it’s 80% good and only 20% bad!

If you start saving again or for the first time at age 50, you’ll have another 20-30 years of compounding ahead of you. That’s plenty when you’re earning $100k+.

Saving After 50

Saving after 50 means you need to have a good idea of how to set your money aside and how to invest it. This is an art and perhaps more so a habit that requires cultivation.

Just like planting a seed of change in your career, it’s a habit that needs some practice to get it right.

Wild stock speculations or constant financial flames to put out will derail your retirement plans. And, like my career, shit can happen, and you’ll need to be in the right headspace to recover from something like that.

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