Advice: Retirement Readiness – Staying on Track Age 36-50

Key Takeaway

Anticipating the challenges, we face at various life stages can help us plan for a more comfortable retirement. Middle age can be a huge time for both personal and professional growth. Make sure your retirement strategy grows with you.

Here are some of the obstacles you might face in continuing to accrue money for retirement:

  • Juggling Multiple Savings Goals – Major purchases, such as a home, and lofty savings goals like your children’s education may compete with your retirement savings.
  • Failing to Learn about Investing – You may not have time to give attention to investment options and the tools available to assist you in making choices.
  • Uncertainty of Job Stability, Care Taking Responsibilities – You may shoulder responsibility for both children and elders, financially and otherwise. You and/or your partner may find your income reduced due to such responsibilities or other job market challenges.

Action Steps

  1. 1

    Increase contributions to your retirement plan. Continue to aim for deferring 10-15 percent of your income to your retirement savings. If you’re not there yet, try to increase your contributions by at least one percent per year to reach that goal.

  2. 2

    Read the fine print, and learn about your options. Check all resources available regarding your retirement plan, including online resources, up-to-date investment information, calculators, and any webinars/articles supplied by your retirement plan provider.

  3. 3

    Ask for help. Identify, interview, and meet with a financial advisor. An advisor is a financial professional who can help with all forms of financial planning, from budgeting to saving for retirement. Ask for referrals from friends or family members.

  4. 4

    Consider major spending. College saving, for example. You may want to prioritize your retirement over college savings. Your children have access to loans, part-time employment, scholarships, and other funding sources. If you put off saving for retirement until you’re done paying for college you will need to significantly increase your deferrals to make up for that lost time.


  • Continue to save for retirement in addition to other major savings goals such as home/college funding.
  • Review your current investment elections yearly and determine how variables such as your income, health, and time until retirement may require you to re-allocate.
  • Continue to monitor both major and minor spending to identify money you can allocate to retirement savings while also saving for other major goals.