15 Sound and Practical Finance (SPF) tips for people in their 40s

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We have noticed that sunscreen application gets a little more rigorous as we age. People understand both from a vanity and medical standpoint that too much sun exposure can speed up the aging process and possibly lead to skin cancer.

So, people in their forties use sunblock.

Retirement also looms a little closer for people in that age group and they start wondering if they’ve done enough to make their money last their whole lives. Toward that goal, here are our SPF 15 (Sound and Practical Finance) tips for people in their forties.

  1. Evaluate your career. These are your peak earning years so make sure your paycheck reflects that. If you love your job and do it well, don’t be afraid to ask for a raise or to move to another company that offers better pay and benefits. Remember, your Social Security will be based on your top 30 earning years. Make the most of them. Toward that end…
  2. …Challenge yourself to achieve an advanced degree or certification in your field. This will not only add to your skillset, it will also likely increase your salary.
  3. Increase your contributions to your retirement accounts.
  4. Sit down with a fiduciary financial advisor to make sure your account allocations match your risk tolerance, which can change as we age.
  5. Do not dip into your retirement accounts to pay for things like weddings, vacations or even college tuitions. You can’t take a loan out to pay for your retirement.
  6. Define success your own way and don’t compare your life to anyone else’s. Such comparisons aren’t accurate anyway and they can lead you to overspend money and time fretting when you should be enjoying these years.
  7. Start thinking about specific retirement goals like a timeline and activities. It’s not enough to fund your retirement, you have to know how you will spend your time when you get there.
  8. Don’t panic if the market isn’t going your way. Reactionary selling will only lock in your losses. You have time and an historically upward trending market on your side.
  9. Start thinking about Long Term Care insurance, especially if your company offers a group rate.
  10. Understand the taxable impact of the withdrawals you’ll make from your investment accounts and make adjustments now if necessary.
  11. Start thinking about your estate planning needs and whether you need to set up trusts for your dependents.
  12. Sign a living will or advanced healthcare directive.
  13. Set up a power of attorney for both healthcare and finance.
  14. Review your insurance policies to make sure you have enough coverage for your home, health, life and auto. Maybe your old car requires less comprehensive coverage, or your new addition means an increase in homeowners insurance.
  15. Enjoy the money you’ve earned. Take vacations you can afford and make some memories.