I am 62, single and have never had a retirement account. I have $100,000 to invest, but is it too late?

I am a 62 year old single male and have never had a retirement account. I own both my home and a rental property that are paid off and have no other liabilities. I have $100,000 in savings that I would like to invest for retirement. At my current job I save $10,000 a month so hopefully I can add significantly to my retirement funds, but I’m a contractor working overseas in a fickle industry so there’s no guarantee how much I’ll be able to add in the coming months or years.

After much research, I chose a Schwab Robo Advisor account, but have yet to have the necessary meeting with their financial planner or commit the funds. Based on my age, I expect a maximum of 10 years before I need access to these funds, but this is also not guaranteed and I may need to take out money sooner. I’m nervous about the markets and our world in general, and my own relatively short-term (10-year) outlook over which I’ll be able to grow my nest egg. Are there better options such as high yield savings accounts, CDs or specific treasures that I should consider instead?

Too little. Too late.

Look: I’m about to turn 65, have $320,000 in retirement savings and a paid-off home, but $46,000 in debt – should I be taking more money out of my investments?

Dear Reader,

I’ll start with some good news – it’s not too late.

Many Americans are running out of retirement accounts, so you’re certainly not alone. It’s great that you’re looking to change this now and you still have time.

Honestly, you’re going to have to be a little aggressive with your current cash flow. Being able to save $10,000 a month is something many Americans desire, so take advantage of this amazing opportunity. You have a paid-off home and rental property, and with no debt, you should be able to keep a large portion of that income in investment and savings accounts.

“Just from a savings perspective, he has a really good chance of building a retirement that will work for him,” said Berke Sestock, a certified financial planner and president of Rightirement Wealth Partners.

I would suggest—and this has less to do with retirement than just good general personal finance practice—that you set up an emergency savings account with six months’ worth of living expenses if you don’t already have one. The unexpected is just that – unexpected – and this is especially true if you work in a “volatile” industry, as you put it.

Plus, let’s look at some things you can do right now to boost your retirement security.

A robo advisor is a great first step into investing, and if you have all your other finances figured out, you may not be interested in working with an advisor. A financial planner is able to talk through investment choices, help you control your emotions around stock market volatility, and remind you of considerations you may not have thought of on your own. But if you just want to get started right away and not waste any more time, an online platform like a robo-advisor does the trick. You just have to be very diligent.

If you do decide to work with a financial advisor, check out the professional – check their credentials and ask about their fees, which may be hourly or as a percentage of your assets. Also make sure they are working in your best interest, so ask them if they follow the fiduciary standard. Here are a few more questions you can ask.

When creating an account, regardless of which service you end up choosing, make sure you think carefully and consider your schedule, your risk tolerance (this is how much risk you’re willing to take with your investments), and your risk capacity (what you risk must to undertake to achieve some investment objectives. Many services provide you with a suggested portfolio, and it can end up being more heavily weighted toward conservative or aggressive investment choices depending on the information you enter.

A quick note about your timeline. You mentioned that you expect a maximum of 10 years before taking advantage of these assets, but as you said, that is not guaranteed. Keep this in mind when doing your asset allocation. You may want to work with a human advisor or talk to an investment firm about creating “buckets” instead of one giant portfolio. That way, you can have one part of your investments allocated aggressively – this will be the long-term bucket – and one part of your nest egg allocated more conservatively – this bucket will be if you need the money sooner.

Read: Does the bucket strategy beat the 4% rule?

This is where that emergency savings account, which can be your third bucket, also plays an important role. When the stock market picks up, it’s best not to touch the investments so that any losses have time to recover. If you have money, you let those assets grow without causing potential damage to future returns.

See also: I retired at 50, went back to work at 53, and then a medical problem put me out of work: “There’s no such thing as a safe amount of money”

There’s no magic number for how much a person needs in retirement, so you may feel at a loss to choose a goal when entering data on a robo-advisor’s site. Instead, you can choose to enter what you plan to contribute each month, and it will generate several possible results based on that information and possible rates of return.

However, if you are trying to reach a goal, consider absolutely every possible financial factor. Consider what kind of income you will have, such as this portfolio, a pension, any social security, a side job, etc. Also think about really every expense you could think of…maintenance for your home or rent, taxes, health care, any big goals like a vacation or boat, family obligations or charitable giving that you’d like to leave behind and after this. Don’t forget long-term care planning, which is completely separate from your day-to-day medical expenses and can be quite expensive. “The simple fact is that as we age, we have more medical bills, and those are things that can’t be ignored,” Sestock said.

Do not miss: Planning to retire? Here’s a list of at least 14 things you should consider first

You’re also now living abroad – you’ll probably need to research what your lifestyle will look like if you plan to return to the US or remain living abroad. If you can think of it, list it and plan for it. Here’s a calculator to help you get in the mood for this task.

I’ll end with this. I know you’ve mentioned that you’re worried about getting your egg into the markets given the current economic environment, and that’s totally valid. Investing can be intimidating. You’ll likely see higher returns over a decade with an investment account than a savings account, Sestock said, but you also need to be able to sleep at night, so you may want to talk to a professional about balancing your risk tolerance with your risk capacity. when building a portfolio. The last thing you want is for your feelings to get in the way of your retirement security.

“The number one thing about investing is not letting your emotions play a role,” Sestock said. “That’s also the number one challenge.”

Readers: Do you have suggestions for this reader? Add them in the comments below.

Have a question about your own retirement savings? Email us at [email protected]

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