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Financial Planning Tips For Your 40s and 50s

We last looked at financial planning ideas for people in their 20s and 30s. Here are some tips to help you make sure that you are on the right track in your 40s and 50s.

The later family years - 40s

In our 40s, things won't change much. We still need to be aware of our spending. We should be avoiding and eliminating excessive debt, and maximizing our retirement savings. Reevaluate all financial strategies to make sure that they are still meeting the family's needs.

Most of the financial concerns are still related to family, but the children are older. With college around the corner, college funding becomes an important matter.

Although I've had many teens get upset with me over my advice to their parents, please hear me out. You are still free to make whatever decision you choose. I always tell parents not to sacrifice their comfort in retirement in order to put their children through school.

I've heard several horror stories of parents refinancing their homes or foregoing retirement savings to pay for college, only to find out that their child is no longer interested in completing a degree.

While my parents did help me out financially, I did not get a free ride in college. I had a part-time job that supplemented other monies. Since I was helping to foot the bill, I had a much greater appreciation for my classes. I wanted to make sure that I did well and that I got my money's worth.

Don't cripple your children. Give them a foundation. Let them move into adulthood with a sense of responsibility.

Almost empty nesters - 50s

By the time we reach our 50s, many families are watching children go off to college, or move out on their own. We want to make sure that we review our finances again to see that all needs are being met.

Look at your retirement accounts to make sure that they are not too aggressive. As you get closer to retirement, you want to shift toward being a little more conservative.

In reviewing the retirement accounts, ask yourself if you are on track toward the goal. Do you need to save more to help you become financially ready to retire?

Reexamine life insurance policies. With retirement nearby, the children out of the house and the mortgage balance reduced, you may be able to reduce your coverage. You could also consider moving into a smaller home after retirement. Many retirees downsize to cut back on expenses and increase funds available in retirement.

Next time, we will look at the planning for ages 60 and beyond. This group should be most concerned with the retirement years. Remember, the sooner you start the better, but it's never too late.