5 ways to make the most of your 50s


While everyone looks at the stages of life differently, many men and women refer to their 50s as a pivotal time in their lives, or a renaissance age. Regardless of each person’s individual perspective, it’s important to prepare for the changes that come with health, work and relationships as we age.

Check in on Savings

Many will mistake their 401K as the ultimate savings plan; however, it’s crucial to have other sources of revenue, if necessary. Thankfully, managing money in the years leading up to retirement doesn’t have to be difficult or restrictive. A great place to start is by limiting discretionary expenses, like dining out or travelling. Track and categorize spending to identify needs versus wants.

Pursue Passions

Though retirement may feel far away for some, preparing for the change in pace is necessary. Falling out of the routine and demands of regular work can lead to a lost sense of purpose or fulfillment, so finding ways to keep the mind and body busy during retirement is vital. This can mean taking a part-time job in a field of interest, starting a new hobby or pursuing a talent there wasn’t time for previously.

See the Doctor

By the age of 50, it’s important to have established a relationship with a primary care physician. These doctors are qualified to identify personalized health goals and coordinate specialty care if needed. Screenings in both men and women around the age of 55 include, but are not limited to:


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Alcohol Misuse

Aspirin Use to Prevent CVD and CRC

Colorectal Cancer

Depression

Hepatitis (B and C)

High Blood Pressure

HIV

Latent Tuberculosis Infection

Obesity

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Statin Use for the Primary Prevention of CVD

Syphilis

Type 2 Diabetes

Renew Relationships

It’s common for people in their 40s and 50s to feel increasingly isolated, so making an effort to maintain healthy relationships is crucial for both mental and physical well-being. Research funded by the National Institutes of Health states older individuals with strong social networks report greater emotional well-being in day-to-day life and are less likely to experience declines in cognitive functioning.

Plan for Health Care Costs

A recent Fidelity Investments report found the average 65-year-old couple will spend about $260,000 on healthcare alone in their retirement. Fortunately, Medicare plans help cover many of the costs associated with screenings and preventive care during retirement. Men and women are eligible at age 65 and can sign up anytime within the three months leading up to his/her 65th birthday, during the month of their birthday, or within the three months that follow. It’s also important to note that missing the enrollment period once eligible can lead to higher premiums over time. If you are over 65, employed and still getting health care coverage through your employer, you should check with your benefits administrator to determine the best course of action.

Dr. S. George Kipa is deputy chief medical officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. For more tips about health and wellness, visit AHealthierMichigan.org.