Financial Planning: Ages 40–50

Focus and balance

You’re in your peak earning years. This is important because you want to put as much money into your retirement account as you can. Focus is key. Your time horizon until retirement is shrinking. Once again, you need to re-evaluate your life insurance coverage, risk tolerance, legal documents (wills, trusts) and goals after every life event if not every year. You should still be operating under a budget.

Life is a journey. You need to enjoy yourself, but there needs to be structure. Every successful business has a business plan. Your successful life needs to operate off of a financial plan, too. Statistically speaking, you will mostly likely spend 20-plus years in retirement. With that in mind, planning is the foundation to living 30 years with a purpose that might not include any form of employment. Determining how much you will need to sustain your lifestyle over that time is complicated work. There are too many moving variables to simply add up income and divide by 15, 20, 25. You should be reviewing and studying your retirement plan distribution strategies. Think about this:

Do you have a pension? If so, be careful as to which option you choose since it’s usually irreversible.

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How will you take your 401(k) or 403(b) distributions? Roll it over to an IRA, or take distributions?

Don’t think this is the time to start traveling the world unless you’ve planned for it financially. There is a concept in economics called the utility curve. (Any UD grads who had Dr. William Harris, know where I am going with this.) All play and no work means happy first and broke later. Balance work and play. All the rules from previous generations apply here. Keep your eye on the target, and work hard to achieve it. You will have plenty of time to vacation and relax once you retire. And you will have tremendous satisfaction.

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