Life begins at 40 - but don’t spend more than you need

You could be thinking about trading up to a bigger house in your forties. Photo by Pixabay.
You could be thinking about trading up to a bigger house in your forties. Photo by Pixabay.

So have you hit the big 4-0? Or is it all in the past? They do say life begins at forty. And it is quite a pivotal time, writes Jillian Thomas.

It should be an exciting decade, full of plans and aspirations. It’s also likely to be a time of optimum earning potential and it’s a crucial decade to make sure your finances are on track to meet your goals.

There’ll be some decisions you’ll already have taken which will have had an impact. You may have bought your own home or put some savings away in cash, investments or pensions.

Here are four simple tips for financial planning in your forties:

1) Budget ruthlessly

Life may feel comfortable with regular pay rises and bonuses, but don’t fall into the temptation of spending more than you need. Do you really need that Costa coffee or M;S lunch every day?

Simple steps like cancelling subscriptions or switching bill providers can also make a significant difference.

And do invest what you can, taking into account your attitude to risk.

2) Carry out a protection audit

Think about what if the unexpected happened. Make sure you’re protected should the worst happen by ensuring you have a good emergency fund in place.

Also think about critical illness cover and life insurance.

3) Property plans

Your home will be a fundamental part of your financial planning at this time of life. If you feel you need a larger property, these are likely to be your peak earning years so now is the time to secure the best mortgage you can and find your dream home.

On the other hand, if you’re quite happy where you are, it may be a good time to remortgage to get a better deal.

4) Family spending

Everyone’s situation is different. You may have children at university or you may still be paying nursery fees. Work out the priorities for your family – the best education now or a house deposit in the future.

It’s important not to derail your own life savings for the sake of your children as no one will benefit in the long run.

By doing some sound financial planning now, you’ll have more hope of continuing in the style you want to live, well beyond your forties.

Jillian Thomas is a financial planner and the managing director of Future Life Wealth Management, based in Renishaw. She is also a past president of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce.