11 Personal Finance Steps For Those Pushing 40
by Holly Petherbridge
By the time the average person reaches the age of 40, there have been significant milestones reached. Most are homeowners, have a career, married, and had their children. At this point, they are definitely thinking about the future decades of their life. To be more specific, personal finances.
Emergency fund – If there isn’t one already set up, now is the time to make it happen. Without money set aside for unexpected costs, people turn to credit cards or worse yet, payday loans. Going into the second phase of your life with a pile of debt or bad credit isn’t going to help. Get that emergency fund built, so you don’t have to depend on third party money.
Insurance – No more putting this one off. Life, Disability, and even Rental will save you and your family if something really bad happens. Shop for the best premiums that will cover all of your needs.
Retirement accounts – Make the deposits automatic through your paycheck. You will never miss the money, nor forget to pay. Too often we save these kinds of payments for anything that is left at the end of the month. It’s time to make this payment first on the list.
Financial Adviser – You may be doing a great job managing your money, but it would be best to sit with a professional, and let them look at things. Even a few small tweaks to your plan may make all the difference for your future.
Check your credit – Make an effort, at least once a year, to check your credit history. You may need to correct errors, dispute debt that doesn’t belong to you, or request to remove an outdated negative report. With a free credit check from each of the credit bureaus every 12 months, there is no excuse not to.
Increase your tax knowledge – Become proficient on income tax. You may save money if you familiarize yourself with all the deductions and credits available to you. Hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the rest of your life add up.
Invest in a home – If you haven’t done so already, it’s a good investment for your future. It doesn’t fit everyone’s situation, but if you can, you will provide stability for your family.
Maximize employment benefits – Does your employer offer to match retirement contributions? What are you waiting for? Other benefits you may be entitled to are: pretax transportation, tuition reimbursement, employee assistance, wellness programs, financial planning and health savings. Your employer may even offer something different. Unless you ask, you may be missing out.
Make a will – This should have been done in your thirties so get to it. Especially if you have children who are still minors. Also, it is important to spend the time and money and hire an attorney to create a solid estate plan.
Learn investing basics – You want to make the best choices for your money. The more you know, the smarter those choices will be. Take a personal finance course in your community college to help get you started.
Pay off your debt – Debt cripples finances. You will limit future plans by carrying past debt. Make a point to steadily pay off that debt, and rebuild your credit. You will have more money to invest once it is gone.
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