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Delaying retirement to fix financial missteps

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Michael T., age 62
Atlanta, Georgia
Working
Married, one child
"I used debt as a stepping-stone to success. I now realize that was a mistake."

Michael's Tips

  • Don't discount part-time work—part-time salaries add up and some offer 401(k)s.
  • If you think you have a lot of time left before or even in retirement, keep investing in stocks.
  • Be careful of overusing debt to finance business or investment strategies.

Highlights

  • Phased out of profession; has had part-time jobs for past seven years; one offered 401(k).
  • Working to become debt-free; by end of year will have only mortgage on the house.

Changes in technology forced a change in profession; a leap into new work has had its financial ups and downs.

"I owned a photo studio. As the shift from film to digital happened, rather than recapitalize my business, I phased it out and started taking part-time jobs. My wife works full-time; she has an excellent career and is the major earner in our family."


"Making mistakes, and digging out of debt.

"I tried managing real estate. I got into it in a big way, and I lost big. At age 55 I was using debt as a financial stepping-stone to success. I've spent the past few years trying to dig us out of that hole. At one point, I had five part-time jobs. Now I have two: delivering pizzas and newspapers. At first I was embarrassed to tell people, but I am plugging away.

I am still in the stock market. The thinking for people my age is to convert stocks into safer bonds, but I am risking lost opportunity if I don't continue to invest. My mother is still sharp at 96! I could live another 35 years."



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