Investing in your 50s: catching up on retirement savings

For those in their 50s, retirement is no longer a distant dream but a looming reality. If you haven’t saved enough for retirement yet, you’re not alone. Many people find themselves in this situation and wonder what they can do to catch up. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to improve your financial situation and secure a comfortable retirement.


Assess your retirement needs

Before you start investing, it’s essential to assess your retirement needs. How much money will you need to maintain your lifestyle in retirement? What sources of income will you have? Understanding your retirement needs will help you determine how much you need to save and what investment strategies are best suited to meet your goals.

Create a retirement savings plan

Once you know your retirement needs, create a plan to save enough money to meet them. Determine how much you need to save each year and adjust your budget accordingly. Consider cutting back on unnecessary expenses and redirecting that money toward retirement savings. If you have significant debts, such as credit card or student loan debt, consider paying them off before you start investing to reduce your monthly expenses.

All employers must offer pensions

Pension contributions attract generous tax relief. For instance, if you pay the basic tax rate of 20%, if you pay £80 into your pension, you will get an additional £20.  If you are a higher rate taxpayer, the benefit is even greater. Furthermore, any investment gains you make on your pension savings are not taxed. So, saving in your pension is an obvious place to start.

Also, consider what your state pension entitlement is. You will typically need at least 10 qualifying years on your National Insurance record to get any State Pension. They do not have to be 10 qualifying years in a row. You’ll need 35 qualifying years to get the full new State Pension. You’ll get a proportion of the new State Pension if you have between 10 and 35 qualifying years.

Consider catch-up pension contributions

If you have any money to spare, you should consider making catch-up contributions. Even if you have made the maximum contribution for this year, then you could boost your current contribution further, by carrying forward any unused allowances in previous years, where you didn’t make full use of them. The calculations aren’t complicated, but it is worth seeking professional advice from a financial adviser. Remember these will also attract tax relief up to a certain limit known as the annual allowance. The annual allowance is currently £60,000.

Diversify your investments

Diversification is an essential part of any investment strategy, and it’s especially important when investing in riskier assets. Diversification means spreading your money across different types of investments, such as stocks, bonds, and real estate, to reduce your overall risk. It’s also essential to diversify within asset classes, investing in a variety of stocks, for example, to reduce your exposure to individual company risk. A well-diversified portfolio can help you weather market ups and downs and improve your chances of achieving your long-term investment goals.

Consider delaying retirement

If you haven’t saved enough for retirement yet, you may need to consider delaying retirement. By working longer, you can continue to save money and delay drawing on your retirement savings. If you’re able and willing to work longer, delaying retirement can be an effective way to catch up on your retirement savings.

Seek professional advice

Investing can be complicated, and it’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed, especially if you’re trying to catch up on your retirement savings. Seeking professional advice from a financial advisor can help you understand your options and make informed investment decisions.


Investing in your 50s can be challenging, but it’s not too late to catch up on your retirement savings. By creating a retirement savings plan, maximising your investment options, and considering catch-up contributions, you can increase your retirement savings and prepare for a comfortable retirement. It’s essential to evaluate your retirement expenses carefully and seek professional advice to ensure that you’re on the right track to meet your retirement goals.