Easing the Mid-Life Squeeze
The mid-life crisis: it happens to almost everyone. That shiny new convertible at the dealership catches your eye; your college roommate arrives to the reunion with a much younger, more attractive spouse; or that vow you made to never consider plastic surgery now seems like a good idea. There are other kinds of mid-life crises, too – more common, and less spectacular than changing partners, profiles, or preferences. Unfortunately, these crises can be just as expensive, if not more so. What is it about middle-age that brings on a full-blown identity crisis, not to mention all of the stress and expenses?
“Between sending kids to college, financing weddings, saving for retirement, and caring for an elderly or ailing family member, nearly everyone in their fifth and sixth decades experiences some sort of financial squeeze,” says CFP Board Consumer Advocate Eleanor Blayney, CFP®. “These added demands on income can often make 40 or 50 year-olds feel more strapped and stressed than when they were just starting out, leading them to sometimes resort to the antics of their youth.”
In her latest contribution to LetsMakeaPlan.org, Blayney shares simple but essential steps to help get your finances ready for any mid-life scenario you may face.
- PLAN: It is human nature to deal with things as they come, one at a time. The financial planning process helps us become aware of the “opportunity costs” of each financial and life decision we make. For this reason, it’s particularly important that the mid-lifers – 40 or 50 year-olds – take a holistic approach in their planning process to build a comprehensive plan that will take into account all of the individual’s or family’s goals.
- PRIORITIZE: Identifying and prioritizing these goals is one of the first and most important steps of financial planning. These priorities help determine where trade-offs may be necessary when shortfalls are identified in the plan.
- PREPARE: It is important to address the potential financial costs of sudden or catastrophic events – a sudden death, property loss, or even a major market meltdown. Covering yourself with the proper insurance coverage and risk management techniques should be one of a mid-lifers’ first and non-negotiable priorities. Without taking these steps, all life goals may become wishful thinking.
- PUT A CFP® professional in the middle: Many times we may feel responsible for the financial obligations of family members older and younger than ourselves, as it can be too hard to say no to our loved ones. In these situations, the role of a facilitator – such as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional – can be invaluable, and can help a family mitigate the financial burden that might otherwise fall solely on the mid-lifer.
“When all is said and done, being in the middle of life can put us at the top of our game, both financially and personally,” says Blayney. “Consult the guidance of a CFP® professional to make confident, informed choices to help you embrace life to the fullest, even when that mid-life urge to splurge surfaces.”CONTACT: Jessica Lewis, Communications Specialist P: 202-379-2256 E:firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @cfpboardmedia