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AARP The Magazine

Take Charge of Your Money at 50+

Your savings. Your salary. Your spending. Your investments. AARP financial ambassador Jean Chatzky puts it all in perspective

couple paying bills (Getty Images)

Your 50s are prime time to pay down nondeductible debt. That means car loans, credit cards and lingering student or personal loans. — Getty Images

Where do you stand, financially speaking, compared with your peers?

Are you making more than your college classmates? How do your saving and spending patterns stack up against those of the rest of your generation? We’re forever asking such questions.

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“Our brains are comparison machines, always tuned in to relative differences,” says social psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson, coauthor of Focus: Use Different Ways of Seeing the World for Success and Influence.

Trouble is, comparing can get discouraging. So don’t get hung up on what might have been. Instead, Halvorson says, “look at people who are doing it right  —  or at least better. Don’t think ‘How good am I at this?’ Think ‘How can I get better?’ ”

See also: Take charge of your money at 60+ | And at 70+

The tips on the next pages will help you do just that, walking you through the big financial questions you’ll face in the next 10 years of your life. It’s a pocket guide to your money in your 50s: how to maximize your income, rethink your investments, spend smarter and save more, starting right now.

Next page: The plan for what you owe (and own). »

AARP Financial Ambassador Jean Chatzky

Jean Chatzky (Courtesy of Money Matters with Jean Chatzky.  Photographer, Brad Trent)

Jean Chatzky. — Photo by Brad Trent

Financial expert Jean Chatzky is a regular contributor to AARP The Magazine and AARP.org. Read Jean's articles, watch her money tips videos and learn more about how to save more and spend less at aarp.org/jeanchatzky.

Also, be sure to make use of AARP's suite of interactive Money Tools — including the AARP Retirement Calculator and the Social Security Benefits Calculator — at aarp.org/tools.

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MAKE YOUR MONEY LAST: AARP financial ambassador Jean Chatzky on planning for the future.

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