By Stacie Rhodes

Editors Note: Over the next few months, Stacie Rhodes will be sharing strategies for financial readiness for each decade of our lives.

This decade is precious as it ushers in milestone celebrations and transitions. Parents find themselves downshifting from a nonstop schedule full of child-related activities to more frequent, quieter moments at home. Aged poise accompanies the now-seasoned professional as work becomes familiar and confidence replaces former insecurities. Much has been experienced, and much more is promised. With the “golden years” of retirement less than 20 years away, we find ourselves in a season of hopeful anticipation of celebrations to come while being pressed for faithfulness to finish strong. Let’s keep pressing in. 

Reduce your living expenses. A consistent mantra throughout the decades has been to track expenses and embrace budgeting. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I reiterate the importance of this habit. A recent poll revealed that 56% of surveyed workers feel they lack in retirement savings, with 37% indicating they feel significantly behind in preparation. Those closest to retirement age reported feeling the most insecure, but younger generations also expressed similar concerns. If you feel this way, you are not alone! While we could look for ways to increase income, we can also tighten down on expenses to create more margin. Consider downsizing your house to reduce the monthly payment, pay off your debt aggressively to avoid debt payments in retirement, and consistently review your expenses to assess areas of excess. This may be tough, especially in this decade, as you will likely find yourself balancing aging parents and supporting kids (or grandkids). Be mindful of those healthy boundaries – practice generosity without sacrificing personal stability. 

Take advantage of catch-up contributions to your retirement account. Knowing how much you need for retirement is tough to estimate as it varies for each person or couple. Therefore, we control what we can by reducing those expenses and watching our lifestyle creep (discussed in the previous article). But then we follow professional guidance of only withdrawing around 4% of the retirement savings account each year. This means you will need about 25 times your annual spending when you reach retirement age.  To assess your savings strategies, below are recommended balances in your retirement savings accounts by decade:

Age 30: At least your annual salary.
Age 40: 3 times your annual salary.
Age 50: 6 times your annual salary. 
Age 60: 8 times your annual salary.
Age 67: 10 times your annual salary.

If you need to boost those savings, take advantage of the catch-up retirement contributions. If you are 50 or older in 2024, you are eligible to make an additional contribution of $7,500 into your 401(k) above the $23,000 standard threshold. You can also contribute an additional $1,000 to your IRA over the standard threshold of $7,000 for 2024. 

Consider long-term care insurance. According to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing studies, nearly 70% of older adults will need long-term care insurance. Unfortunately, Medicaid often has long wait lists for in-home support, while Medicare doesn’t cover these services. Like life insurance, long-term care insurance premiums are lower when you purchase at a younger and healthier age. For this reason, I encourage you to talk to a professional and consider your long-term care needs.

Register your social security account. While it may seem premature, consider setting up your free Social Security account at to check reported data and estimate your retirement income from Social Security. You will see a list of earnings for each year you worked and paid social security taxes. Check these numbers for accuracy as they will determine your benefit in retirement. Under current rules, you can start receiving Social Security benefits as early as age 62. However, you won’t receive full benefits until age 67 (for those born after 1960). If you can postpone collecting these benefits, you will get an 8% raise each year you wait. Therefore, you could receive 124% of the benefit if you wait until age 70 to start collecting. 

You are in the final stretch of years that will provide income contingent on your contribution to a workplace while you are preparing for years of income rewarding your personal or societal contributions. Let’s take advantage of this intentional decade – celebrating the relationships around us while preparing for the next phase of retirement. Do not grow weary, ladies, but press in and faithfully engage. Your family needs your faithfulness.


Dr. Stacie Rhodes serves as the Associate Dean for the School of Business at Liberty University, as well as the Executive Director of the Liberty University Center for Financial Literacy. Her passion is empowering women with essential financial education to walk confidently toward financial freedom. Stacie received her graduate degree from NC State University and her doctorate from Liberty University while holding CPA, CFP®, and CKA® designations. She enjoys building relationships with her incredible community, vacationing in places with beautiful beaches, and traveling the world with friends and family.