5 Smart Money Moves to Make in Your 40s
Reaching your 40s is a big milestone. It means you’ve survived a lot of life’s ups and downs and lived to tell about them. You might finally be on solid financial footing, or still working to achieve your goals. Either way, there are several things you can do in this decade to set yourself up for an easier time in your 50s and beyond.
Make Sure You’re Adequately Insured — Check all your insurance policies: health, homeowner’s or renter’s, vehicle, and life insurance to be sure you’re adequately covered. Life insurance is particularly important if you have children to ensure they are well-cared for if anything were to happen to you. If you are missing any of the key insurance types, talk to your agent about what you need to fill in the gaps.
Boost Your Available Cash Reserves — How are your emergency savings holding up? Remember, you should have enough ready cash saved to cover three to six months of living expenses. Just because you’re more established doesn’t mean you can stop saving. In fact, just the opposite is true. What constitutes an emergency now is likely much more costly than what would have been an emergency in your 20s or 30s — think new roof versus new laptop.
Maximize Retirement Contributions — Though it’s still several years away, now is the time to really rev up what you’re doing to save for retirement. If you’re lucky enough to have a 401(k), be sure you are contributing the maximum amount allowed to take advantage of your employer’s matching funds. It’s also the perfect time to look into opening a Roth IRA to put even more money aside. There’s no guarantee Social Security will exist when you reach retirement age, and even if it does, it will only cover a fraction of your living expenses.
Pay Down Debt — By now you’ve probably accumulated more debt than you’d like. Get serious about paying it off. Whether it’s debt from credit cards, car payments or lingering student loans, you don’t want debt hanging over your head as you’re trying to save and plan for the rest of your life. If you need help making a plan to pay off debt, Credit Counseling or Student Loan Counseling can help you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Get Your Estate in Order — No one likes to think about this one, but it’s essential to your peace of mind and your family’s well-being. More than 50% of Americans don’t have any kind of will or estate plan, which means the state will have control of their assets if they should pass away. Talk with your family about your plans, then consult a lawyer to help you put your plan in place.