5 Things to Do Every Decade for Financial Success

Allison Kade

5 Things to Do in Your 40s …

1. Open a 529

If you have kids, you can’t open a 529 educational savings plan soon enough. And even if you don’t have little ones, you can open a 529 for yourself if you plan to go back to school. Similar to retirement investing, your biggest ally when it comes to 529 investing: time for your money to grow. Here’s what you need to know about 529s.

2. Do a Comprehensive Health Checkup

From getting a full annual physical to keeping up with mammograms, make sure to prioritize your health. (Here are the six doctor visits you should do regularly.) Health extends to more than just your physical body—take care of your spiritual side by going on a meditation retreat, if that’s your sort of thing, or engage your mind through community classes and continuing education.

3. Mentor a Young Person

Once you’ve arrived at your career, help others do the same. Whether that means taking your intern out to lunch or becoming the official mentor of a young person in your field, put your experience to work!

4. Make a Will

Once you have a family, you should have a will. If you aren’t married or don’t have kids, make sure you’ve at least named beneficiaries on all of your financial accounts. If something should happen to you, your money will go to the people you love—rather than getting stuck in probate court. Here’s when you can make a will on your own, and when you need to call in the experts.

5. Take Care of Your Parents

You probably have a lot on your own financial plate right now, but talk to your folks now to figure out whether they have sufficient savings for retirement–and what kind of help they’re expecting from you. One of the simplest ways to make sure that you (and they) are protected is to invest in long-term care insurance, which will cover the costs of a nursing home, if it comes to that.

  • christine

    This article is a bit misleading in that you assume that life is a straight trajectory…

    • Kcheme

      I can’t agree more!  My husband is still in college at 32, so those loans will not be paid off in our 30s.  I had a kid when I was 18 and opened up a college savings plan when she was 2 and I was 20.  Good thing I didn’t wait till I was in my 40s to get my kid a 529, she’ll be done with college by then!!  Good advice, but kick the assumptions about age and position in life.

      • Vonettadevo

        Totally agree. Of course people need to plan ahead and be smart but they don’t need to stress out about reaching these milestones at a different time frame. While it would be ideal if everyone’s life worked out so perfectly, that doesn’t happen for many people.