How to Start Over At Fifty With No Money Tips

Starting over at fifty may seem difficult if it is due to a job loss or divorce.  Both can be an emotional burden that is hard to navigate at first, especially if you have been in both relationships for quite some time. You may need a mourning period to center your world. To make matters worse, you could be starting over with little to nothing in the bank. The good news is I have How to start over at fifty with no money tips to share.

Some of these tips you may be able to apply right away.  Others may need some time to implement. However, be assured that they are a great way to jump-start your new beginning. Starting over does not have to be an uphill battle with the right tools and the right state of mind.

Never too late to Start Over

Starting over may mean assessing where you are financially first.  Review your bank account to see if you can cover monthly expenses. If you have little to nothing in your savings account a fresh start could mean working with what you have in your checking account and creating a budget.  

The next step would be to review all your expenses against available funds. Hence, it will enable you to determine which expenses to reduce or eliminate. Especially, if you are starting over due to a job loss.  Ideally, you should file for unemployment immediately. You should be able to qualify for unemployment benefits if you did not voluntarily leave without good reason or were terminated for misconduct associated with employment.

Last thing, if you are currently married or living with a partner tap into whatever financial help they can provide. Also, seek out family, friends, your church, or any other support group that can come to your aid for a temporary time.

When either my spouse or I lost our jobs, the other working spouse was able to cover expenses until a new job was found.  Luckily, it was never more than a few weeks of unemployment.

However, if you are starting over due to the loss of a spouse or partner you can still tap into resources from your family members, friends, church, etc. It is important to tap into these resources even if they are only emotional. You may need emotional support at this time more than anything. However, no one can help you with your emotional trauma or financial situation unless you reach out.

Health Insurance

For most people when they lose their job, they also lose their health insurance. Yes, most times COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) health coverage plan is offered when you have a job separation. However, this may not be offered or is way too expensive to afford once you have lost your only source of income. Another option might be the Affordable Healthcare program provided by the government via the Affordable Care Act. If you are covered by your spouse this will not be necessary. However, if your spouse was relying on your healthcare but still is working the Affordable Care Act may not be quite so affordable as it will be based on their income.  At least this is what my husband and I experienced. Therefore, it was best that neither of us was unemployed for a long time.

New Job or New Career

Once you have assessed your financial situation, it is now time to assess your job situation. The first option would be to try to find a similar position to the one you had. You have work experience and life experience to bring to the table. Start updating your resume with this experience. You may wish to consult a professional to help you re-write or update your resume. Especially, if you have been in your last job for ten years or more. In that time, you gained so much experience and your job description could have evolved from when you first started. Therefore, you may need help with the best way to translate this into a new opportunity.

If you are looking to start a new career. A career change might be the best way to find that new job. Most times skill sets can be transferred to an entirely new job or industry. Others may require you to take online courses, join a certificate program, or earn a new degree at a community college. Look into Coursera, Udemy, and HBS OnlineHBS Online, for free or low-cost programs to learn new skills. This is a very small list to get you started. However, if you do some research, you will even find a great deal of high-paying jobs that only require a high school diploma.

The current landscape for looking for a job may be considerably different from when you last looked for a job. There are online headhunters that use algorithms that require you to use the correct buzzwords to be considered a candidate, such as ZipRecruiter, Indeed, and Monster. There are social media apps like LinkedIn to also help you find a job.

Ageism and Work

Ageism is real for those of us 50 and older. The act of Ageism is prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of a person’s age. When looking for a job I was advised to update my resume with only the last 10 years of my work history. Hence, the only way I was going to be able to find a good job that pays well was to downplay years of experience.  Seems a bit ironic that experience is no longer valued in the corporate world. It was also advised that I remove the dates that I graduated college. Hence, that was a telltale sign of my age too. Flexjobs.com has some tips on how to successfully combat ageism in your job search.

Entrepreneurship / Side Hustle

At this crossroads in your new life, you may consider starting your own small business. While you look for a job there are many opportunities that don’t require a lot of money to get started. We have all been encouraged to find a second source of income. Why not use this opportunity to look for a job and start a business? You can find a side hustle that can be used as a main source of income or as supplemental income when you find your new job or career. It just requires you to take the first step.

Business Ideas

You can find a business idea with a little hard work. The good news is some do not require much money to get started. The most important thing is it can be something that you are already good at or have a passion for. A good idea would be to do a little research to determine which would best generate the extra money you need. The first thing to do next is to create a business plan that will be sound enough to meet your financial needs or be that career change. Business ideas to get you started:

Deliver Food via Doordash.com, UberEats.com, Mealeo, and Grubhub.

Take online surveys via SurveyJunkie.com and Swagbucks.com.

Deliver Groceries or packages via Instacart.com, Shipt, Burpy, or Amazon.

Start a blog, podcast, or Vlog (YouTube channel) and monetize it over time by selling your own products or using affiliate links.  This will take some time and effort to build a following via organic traffic, social media, and email.

Tutor online via Remotask.com, Preply.com, Tutor.com

Style hair or do Makeup by offering your services for weddings, proms, or other special events.

Rent out space in your house or your entire house, or RV. This can be tricky so do some research first to determine insurance coverage and liability for repairs. Review tax and local ordinance restrictions if any.

Buy and resell stuff via ebay, OfferUp, Mercari, and Craigslist.

Offer Handyman Services, Lawn Services, Clean Homes, or Power Wash homes for cash. You can get the word out by posting flyers or word of mouth. Or you could use TaskRabbit.

You can babysit, dog sit, or offer dog walking services.

Offer freelance services on Fiverr. Turn a hobby like photography into a side hustle.

Sell food or baked goods from a food truck or home.

Future Savings

Getting laid off from your job can be very scary. Especially, since the first thing I realized was that my savings were not enough money to be considered an emergency fund. However, our retirement savings were in good shape for when we become of retirement age. However, those funds were not a great idea to use for day-to-day financial shortfalls. The first thing to do is review the budget again with the new job factored in.

This is the first time I thought to review the budget with the possibility of hard times to come. How will we make the mortgage payment, pay utilities, eat, and afford transportation? These are the four pillars to be sustained during a financial setback. Young people today should always consider this.  I never did as a young adult because it never occurred to me that I would be out of a job for any length of time. However, in my youth, I also did not realize that paying off credit card debt can free up money for savings.

My future savings plan consisted of using automated transfers from checking into a high-yield savings account. Per Forbes – High-yield Savings Accounts rates can help you grow your savings at a higher rate than those available for traditional savings accounts. Putting your money in a high-yield account can really make it grow fast.

These funds can be liquidated with no penalties as needed.  Whether there is an unforeseen hard time, expenses, or a medical emergency, these funds should be put in place to help you for your entire life. Hence, high-yield savings accounts are a good place to save. It is recommended that you save 3 to 6 months, but I prefer 6 to 12 months.

Retirement Plan

Once you are back at work full-time and your emergency fund is fully funded. This is the perfect time to review the available retirement plans. In your fifties, there isn’t much time at this point. There also aren’t many new things to do in terms of starting retirement plans. However, every effort should be made to put as much money as you can into every financial product you can.

Here are some of the available financial products to review:  401k plan, Traditional IRA (Individual Retirement Account), Roth IRA, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, or annuities. Please consult a financial advisor if you are not familiar with these products. A financial professional will also advise you on the stock market, exchange-traded funds (EFTs) and assess your risk tolerance for each of these financial products.

If you contributed to your 401k plan at your old job, you should immediately rollover these funds into a new retirement plan. Unless of course you are in dire straits and need to use some of this money. At age 59 ½ the IRs will allow you to withdraw money from your retirement plan without a penalty. This mandatory penalty is 20% of your assets. However, please be advised you will be required to pay taxes on these funds.

Retirement Budget

However, retirement planning is more than just investment decisions. It includes planning a retirement budget. It is considering if you will have enough money to live off and for how long. First, you must think about whether you can afford to live where you currently reside.

It is always a good time to look at the different ways your life can change. You want to put a plan in place to ensure that you are headed in the right direction. A retirement plan and budget will help you map out your future home and lifestyle.

The second thing to do is begin to eliminate credit card debt, student loans, mortgages, personal loans, and car notes. You want to begin to prepare to go into retirement with as little debt as possible. This should be the focus of your current personal finance goals. This is the time to review how much wealth you have built or can build before you retire. Hence, eliminating debt goes a long way to increasing wealth.

Being in your fifties does not give you much time to get your life in order if you plan to retire in your late 60s or at age 70. Consequently, you do not want to wait until the last year before you retire to put a budget and plan in place.

Social Security

Finally, contact Social Security to determine if you can live off your benefits at age 62, 65, 67, or 70. Plan to work as long as you may need to. However, your career path and health issues will be a huge determining factor in how long you can work.

It has been drilled in our heads that we should wait until we are 70 to collect social security. However, what if your health does not permit you to wait until you are 70 years old? Also, what happens if social security is cut by the government? How do you navigate this loss of income?

My plan is to work as long as I can while paying off the last of our debt (the mortgage).  My retirement budget has determined that I can wait until 67 and my husband is 65 to live comfortably off of social security only.   We have already downsized our home and expenses to afford the major life changes of retirement. We plan to supplement our income with our retirement funds should our social security be cut by 20 or 30 percent. Thereby, our retirement funds can continue to grow until we need them or the mandatory withdrawal age of 72 kicks in.

Important Things To Consider When Creating Your Retirement Budget

  1. What will be my social security benefit from age 62 to 70?
  2. Will it cover my current expenses?
  3. What expenses do I need to eliminate before I retire?
  4. When will I have to begin to tap into retirement funds to live comfortably?
  5. Do I need to downsize to a new place and sell items for financial stability?
  6. Pay down or pay off all credit card debt, student loans, personal loans, car notes, and mortgages before you retire.
  7. Build wealth as quickly as possible.
  8. Give to charity.

Recap

Job loss and learning how to start over at Fifty with no money can be a challenge. The important things to remember are that it may require a new career path and/or some financial planning and this could be a good thing. You may learn the best thing about this season in your life is that it is a new beginning for you and your family.

However, long term for me, meant that I needed to re-evaluate my financial security. I did not need financial experts to tell me that my current situation required a long-term plan that included building wealth. I saw this entire process as a new beginning where the best thing I could do would be to improve my current situation for better financial health and better mental health.

Here are some how to start over at fifty with no money tips:

  1. Assess your financial situation using a budget.
  2. Cut back or eliminate any unnecessary expenses.
  3. Evaluate your job situation – New Job/New career.
  4. Seek out a career coach.
  5. Think about attending a community college or online school for new skills.
  6. Consider starting a small business.
  7. Think about a side hustle for extra income.
  8. Start planning your future savings: Emergency Fund and Retirement Fund.
  9. Call or go online to determine your social security benefits by retirement age.
  10. Formulate a retirement plan.
  11. Create a retirement budget.
  12. Seek the support of family and friends for financial and emotional support.

This content is for information purposes only.  I do not endorse any of the companies mentioned.  Please research and do your own due diligence. I do not get paid if you click any of the links.

Additional Reading:

Credit Card Debt Forgiveness For Seniors

Can I Retire At 60 With $500K

How to Manage Credit Card Debt

What is the purpose of a budget?

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