40 or Older? You Can Still Whip Your Finances Into Shape
6. If You’re Getting Back Into the Workplace …
After taking a few years off, your top financial priority should be to save for retirement, since you may have some catching up to do. Here are some tips for your re-entry to the workforce:
- Don’t discount experience from outside the workforce. You were likely exercising some skills that would be of interest to a potential employer—whether you coached a team or organized an event for your child’s class. Explain in your résumé or cover letter how these skills could translate to the job opening.
- Evaluate all job offers carefully—even those with low salaries. Generous benefits could make up the difference.
- Negotiate. Brush up on your negotiating skills, learn this interviewing tip and pick up these secrets from hiring managers.
- Excel on the job. Check out these tips from bosses, and learn what steps you should take to get set up at your new job.
7. If You’re Starting to Take Care of Your Parents …
Make sure that you have all of the financial, medical and legal information you need, such as:
- their bank accounts and passwords
- the names and contact info for financial professionals, such as attorneys and brokers, along with permission granted for you to speak with these advisors
- insurance policies
- tax returns
- medical records and contact information for primary and specialty physicians
- estate planning documents, including wills, trust documents and powers of attorney
- regular bills that need to be paid, like utilities and newspaper subscriptions
Start accompanying your parents on visits to financial advisors, doctors or attorneys. And be wary of anyone who refuses to let you join—unscrupulous people may try to take advantage of your parents if they think that no one is watching.
If you’re researching long-term care options for your parents to cover medical and non-medical needs for long periods of time, be aware that, in most cases, Medicare won’t pay for long-term care—so evaluate other resources, such as veterans’ benefits. If you’ve heard that you need to encourage your parents to “give away” or “hide” resources in order to qualify for Medicaid coverage of long-term care expenses, consult an attorney who specializes in elder care for proper guidance.
Retirement and Beyond
Now that you’re 40, you may also be thinking about your own needs down the road. While you’re still young and in good health, it may make sense to purchase long-term care insurance. In addition, now is a great time to make sure that your own legal documents are updated, especially if you’ve had kids or if you’ve gotten divorced since you drafted your will. Also, double-check those IRA accounts or you may end up disinheriting your current spouse in favor of your ex!
Remember that your top financial goal as you head into the last half of your working years is to save for retirement, followed by prioritizing for your child’s college education, your parents’ long-term care options and any student loan debt that you still owe.
And remember that every money challenge is temporary and can be handled–the way countless other people have managed it before you.