Ten things to master during your 40s

Negotiate a pay rise

Our 40s are the perfect time to finally cash in on all the career effort we’ve made over the years. It might seem unnerving, but it’s important not to doubt yourself. You may be worth more than you think as it turns out many of us are underpaid at some point in our lives

Keep in mind that there are right and wrong ways of negotiating a pay increase. Playing hardball isn’t always the best strategy and could sour things with your manager. Instead, research your market value, remind your employers of the great work you’ve done over the years and you could even let them know your development plans for the future.

While you’re at it, you may wish to consider looking into income protection insurance, which can help protect you and your family financially if you became sick or injured and were unable to work.

Annual finance checkup

It’s impossible to get a grip on your financial situation if you don’t know where you stand. While most banking apps can give you a quick snapshot of your financial position, it’s a good idea to take a closer look for yourself every once in a while.  Calculate your average monthly expenses, add up your debts, and make sure there are no questionable charges – no matter how small - coming out of your account. Every detail matters when it comes to your financial situation. 

Learn to say no

It’s easy to form a habit of agreeing to everything that comes your way, whether it’s a dinner party with the in-laws, an extra project at work, or a ‘small’ favour that turns out to be a huge ask. We’ve all had our fair share of these but it’s OK to say no. In fact, agreeableness can be just as detrimental as any other trait, so remember to set healthy boundaries and learn to put yourself first once in a while.

It’s also worth learning how to let people down lightly when you can’t fulfill their request. You don’t want to scare them out of asking you for anything ever again!

Escape your comfort zone

The comfort zone might seem appealing at first but it can quickly turn into a psychological trap. Refusing to challenge yourself or push your boundaries can lead to stagnation in your career, personal life, or relationships. To avoid this pitfall, make an effort to try something new once in a while. You can start small by trying a new restaurant or dish the next time you go out, with time you’ll eventually develop the confidence to challenge yourself on a regular basis.

Start an emergency savings fund

It’s impossible to predict what’s around the corner but there are ways you can plan for it. Starting an emergency savings fund is great for those of us who are worried about future setbacks, especially when it comes to things like a replacing an old washing machine or booking a last-minute flight to see a friend in need. According to the Real Concerns Index, more than half of Australians under the age of 55 are worried about how to cover unexpected costs. These concerns only grow stronger as we get older, so it’s best to start doing what you can as early as possible. Speak to a financial advisor for more information.

Have a plan to tackle stress

Stress is inevitable and contrary to common advice, simply avoiding it isn’t always possible. Instead, focus on a way you can reliably tackle it every time you feel overwhelmed. Meditation, exercise, or a guided relaxation video can do wonders against stress, or you might find more solace in one of your long-time hobbies instead.  

Travel solo

It’s never too early or too late to travel on your own. The benefits can far outweigh any sense of fear or awkwardness that you might experience at first. Even for those of us in a relationship, time away from our partners can help avoid feeling trapped or bored as the years go on.

Travelling solo is perfect for those who like to go at their own pace and treat themselves every once in a while. 

Quash your unhealthy habits

We all have habits that are tainting our health. They may have been justifiable in our 20s, or even our 30s, but this is the time to finally put them behind us. Your body won’t absorb bad eating or lifestyle habits forever, especially as we approach our 50s and increase our risk of heart disease and other illnesses. 

Make sure you follow a balanced and nutritious diet, choose the stairs over the elevator when you can, and try to fit at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. When it comes to health, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference in the long run.

Stop thinking about the past

It’s always tempting to wish for a return to former days, but there’s nothing to gain from getting held up on what you can’t have. Besides, 40 is the new 20 according to recent trends. It’s a time when we no longer have all the social pressure that dragged us down in past decades, like kicking off our careers or moving out for the first time. If you find yourself constantly reminiscing on your younger years, it might be time to change your outlook and start seeing the ups of 40.

Keep tomorrow on your mind

If there’s one expectation we need to live up to in our 40s, it’s having a plan in place for the future. Unexpected setbacks can happen any time, and we no longer have the luxury of hoping for the best or expecting somebody else to pick up the slack. This is especially important for those of us with young children to provide for.

Looking into life insurance is one simple thing you can do to protect those that matter to you most.  Visit Real Life Insurance for more information about protecting your loved ones though some of life’s unexpected setbacks.  

This article is an opinion only, provided for general information purposes and shouldn’t be considered or relied upon as professional or personal advice. If you have legal, tax, or financial questions, you should contact an appropriate professional.