Does life really begin at 40?

Life begins at 40

Well that’s what we are told, and taking heed of that advice may be worthwhile.

What happens at age 40?

  1. At age 40, your children are beginning to grow up
  2. You’ve probably seen through some of the impressionable influences of the past
  3. You have probably grown up
  4. You see loved ones health failing
  5. You start to look towards your own future and retirement

Why is 40 a good time to start financial planning?

At 40, by now, maybe the financial shock of bringing up a family is finally hitting home, and with it comes the need for proper budgeting, awareness and planning.

You may be starting to inherit some money from older generations, and as you have grown up yourself, now start to reflect on the future.

Suddenly, the importance of pension planning may be hitting home – with only 27 years to go (that is the same time from when you were 13 – and we can all remember that).

The big reality, is that whilst it’s great to live in the moment, we only come this way once!

I’m 40 and I have my own mind!

Maybe now, the idols of the past, or those people who you felt intimidated by no longer hold such sway.  Maybe, you felt disempowered, and so much so that you were just too afraid to speak out or take action.  Most likely though, you just went along with it so as not to stick out or be controversial.

At 40 though, with greater insight and confidence, you may be keen to look at what is really important to you, what you genuinely value, and where your real priorities are.

I’m 40 and I’m probably halfway through!

None of us know how long we will live, but let’s pretend it is an even 80 years. At age 40, you are already half way through, yet you haven’t really got going yet. Even more frightening, is that at some stage, you will need to make huge decisions about the long term future.  Most of these decisions will hinge one way or another around money – that precious commodity which you may now have just about got a grip of.

Where can I learn about money?

Sadly money isn’t really taught in schools (you may well learn really practical things like the names of Henry VIII’s wives, but how to deal with the one thing which is centre to happiness – no).

Can a financial adviser help ?

Yes and no –  it depends on who you speak to.  There are some advisers who just want to arrange policies, give advice relevant to the products they have to sell, and stay focussed in those areas (which is fine if you have an excellent handle on all of your goals, and how to manage your money), and there are others who want to engage in an ongoing relationship – where they are there to guide and support you towards your goals – it’s called financial life planning.

Why do I need financial life planning?

At the age 40 cross-roads to life, your priorities and aspirations may well start to shift.

Remember all those things you wanted to do when you were a child, all those ambitions of teenage years,  even the things which you were always planning on doing, but maybe now, the body may not quite cope?

Lost dreams, failed aspirations and  regrets – are all things which come about when no action was ever taken, for whatever reason.  The reason may be deep rooted and linked to money, or fear. By burying those fears, the dreams are also buried, consigned to the past, and never to be resurrected.

At 40, do you just want to resign yourself to what you have?

What would it be like if you had the chance to reflect on everything, see what maybe possible and dream of those possibilities without the burden of doubt, or all the massive obstacles coming your way? How would it be if there was perhaps a possibility that maybe some of those dreams could happen?

If you don’t explore those dreams while you still have time, one day, they definitely won’t happen – and will stay for the rest of your life as regrets.

What has financial planning got to do with this?

Many people’s dreams are shattered before they start because of the fear of money.  That’s not to say they are afraid of money, but there are elements of fear which are linked to money. Fear and doubt combine, then it is safer not to dream or try at all, after all who wants to be disappointed? Far better not to try eh!

By understanding what all of the important aspects of life are, discussing them with a skilled planner (someone who cares about you not just about your money) together, you can explore the possibilities. Imagine if you could retire early because you already had enough money to enable that lifestyle to take place?  Imagine being empowered that you could make the decision to follow your passions now, with the knowledge of what you need to do in the future to stay financially stable?

Here’s a real life example

A couple were working for the same business, yet hated every day of it.  Together, we had explored how they would really want their lives to look, what was deeply important, the qualities of every day, and how they would like to feel.  That aspirational life was a distant dream compared to how they felt every day.

Having painted the picture of this utopia, combining that with some sophisticated lifetime cashflow modelling, we could see that it would certainly be possible at their normal retirement age – phew!  That retirement age however was still seven years away – seven more years of unhappiness and misery at work.

How about we bring the future forward to now?

That was the question I asked.  ‘Could we stop work now, and actually start to be in control of our own lives?’ – let’s find out…

The answer was yes.  We looked at how much they needed each year, built that into their plan, changed their retirement date, and all of a sudden, a huge burden was lifted – no longer did they have to go to work and feel compromised. As it happens, they did still work for another 9 months, but with the knowledge that they were in control of the situation.

So why start planning at 40

Many people feel that they do not need to plan for the future until they reach 60, but at that time, your choices are already limited, and, on top of that, 20 glorious years of health and ability have passed.  Not only may you not have the time to plan for the things you wanted to do, but also the ability to do them may have passed.

Anyway, why would you want to wait for another 20 years of compromising what it is you really want to do each day?

That is the power of planning as soon as possible.

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