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4 smart money moves as a woman in her 40s

Think of any TV drama or soap. If there is a woman in her forties in your chosen show, she’s probably portrayed as stressed out and frazzled. Perhaps trying to delay the signs of aging, or struggling to juggle multiple priorities.

Your forties can be a strange time. Some of you have got their shit together, for others you might be coming out of a divorce, moved back in with your parents, or still have no idea what you're wanting to do with your life.

Whichever category you fall in, your forties are a crucial time to make sure that you set yourself up comfortably.

And it's not too late to start, at all!

A lot of financial advice would have you believe that saving and investing in your 20s and 30s is the key to financial security in later life. Although time is a factor in growing your wealth, there are plenty of actions that you can take in your forties to make sure that you’re putting yourself in the best possible financial position for your future.

Here are four tips to make your money work for you as a woman in your 40s:

1. Take a picture (it’ll last longer)

Now is the time to take a financial snapshot to see where you stand.

Go through your budget: you're likely earning more than before. All too often, we succumb to something called lifestyle inflation. Make sure to go through your past expenses. Get intentional with where you're spending your money. You might want to automate a percentage of your income into your savings account each month the moment you get paid.

Calculate your net worth. This can help you understand the bigger picture around your finances. Take a look at your savings accounts - are you getting the best possible interest rates or could your money be working harder for you elsewhere? Also, take your debts into account (if you have any). If you’re in a more senior position at work, now could be the time to increase your repayments.

Taking stock of where you are with your finances and calculating your net worth is a great starting point to plan what you need to focus on in the coming years.

2. Focus on Retirement

You might not be thinking about retirement just yet, but your forties are a great time to ensure that you’re setting yourself up for the retirement that you deserve. If you have kids, it’s understandable that you may want to prioritize their futures, but it’s important to make sure that you pay yourself first and ensure that you’ll be able to live comfortably once you finish working.

1. Find all your past pensions in one place and consider consolidating them into one that you can easily track.

2. Check your national insurance contributions to see how many years you've been contributing for. If necessary, you could make voluntary contributions to increase your state pension.

3. Use this pension calculator to estimate exactly what you're on track to retire with.

3. Plan for the worst

It can be emotional to think about what would happen to your loved ones if something were to happen to you, but it can help ease your mind to acknowledge that these things do happen, and put some practical plans in place. If you haven’t already, consider taking out life or health insurance to protect yourself and your family. Life insurance can actually be cheaper if you invest in it when you’re younger. This is because your insurance premiums will stay the same amount throughout the term of your policy, meaning that you will end up paying less for the same amount of cover.

4. Talk to your family about money - and write your will!

Real talk. Talking about money with people that you’re close to can be awkward, and most of us can hold our hands up and admit that we don’t do it often enough. But now is a great time to talk to your loved ones about money. You may have aging parents, and it’s important to understand their financial situation and consider whether you may need to financially support them in the future.

Write or update your will to ensure that you’re able to support those you leave behind in the way that you want to. Changes in your circumstances can impact the validity of your will. For example, if you’ve recently got married or entered into a civil partnership this could make any previous wills invalid.

We hope you found some useful tips here to help you make your money work harder for you as a woman in your forties. If you have kids, teach them about money too! You know by now that financial education is crucial in life, so by opening up and teaching your children about money, you can help empower and inspire the next generation with financial confidence. Though the media might have you believe otherwise, it’s clear that there are still plenty of things you can do to maximize your wealth and plan for the future that you deserve. Let us know how you’re managing your money!


Em Giblett is a freelance writer and full time software developer based in London. She has written for multiple online and print publications including The Debrief and Grazia on topics including finance, pop culture, film and food.

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