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Are You Prepared for Your Second Act?: Planning in your 40s

When you’re in your 40s, you have a much closer view of retirement on the horizon than you did in your 30s. It’s important to carefully consider what you’re doing to prepare and whether it will give you the retirement savings you need in the timeline you’d like. You have to form a forward-thinking game plan that incorporates strategies to reduce debt and unnecessary expenses. Furthermore, you need to seek out ways to maximize your savings’ long-term growth so that you can retire as early and comfortably as possible.

Make a Budget and Stick To It

To save smartly, you must be disciplined about staying within a budget. Identify the total cost of predictable monthly expenses, including what you need to put aside for your savings. Approximate the cost of expenses that vary every month by examining how much you spend on them over several months or a year and then find an average. Distinguish between essential and nonessential expenditures, and make a concerted effort to avoid spending more than you can afford and on anything that isn’t essential.

Prioritize Paying Off Debt

Debt with high-interest rates can put a significant strain on your ability to save. Pay off any high-interest debt such as credit card balances and student loans as early as you can. Find out if you can consolidate your debt with a more favorable interest rate and a shorter term to pay what you owe. Higher monthly payments could entail some adjustment to your budget, but paying less, in the long run, makes consolidation well worth it.

Take Advantage of Employer Contributions

If you work for a company with a retirement savings contribution program, you should aim to put in the entirety of the amount that your employer is willing to match. Putting in less than the amount that your employer will match is passing up free money. Have your contributions deducted from your pay and deposited to the account automatically.

Ensure That Your Savings Are Appreciating

Don’t leave your savings in an account that isn’t generating added value; a simple low-interest savings account isn’t a good place to put retirement funds. Leave some savings in a liquid account that you can access if you need to, but keep most of your savings in an account that will grow over time.