Autumn is a precious time of year and is perhaps an altogether more positive metaphor for another special time: the tail end of middle age when we are far from elderly, but far from young.
You look up one day and realise that while you were busy building a life with your family, or perhaps pursuing a fulfilling career, the years rolled by more quickly than you thought. There’s still time on the proverbial clock, but you’ve now reached the autumn of life. What can you do to ensure financial stability?
Just like autumn, this age is a time of rich maturity and transformation, pausing to enjoy the comforts of life you’ve stacked up for yourself and settling in for the winter.
The ‘autumn of life’ also, however, requires a completely different financial strategy and mindset. Here, some top tips for navigating your own ‘autumn’:
Hold to a relatively firm budget
By the time you’re in your mid to late fifties, the kids have most likely flown the nest to build futures of their own and if you’re fortunate, you may have already paid off your bond. This newfound financial freedom might tempt you to spend more extravagantly but now more than ever, a level head will be your best asset.
When you’re out with friends, entertain modestly and resist the urge to pick up everyone’s tab for the sake of appearances. At this point, you shouldn’t feel the need to impress those in your social circle.
Another important thing to bear in mind is that while you’re still an active member of the workforce, you should increase contributions to your retirement fund as much as possible.
Be an adviser to your children, but not an endless safety net
If you have kids, your natural inclination will always be to help them in troubled times, no matter how old they get. While admirable, your parental instincts must be balanced with a pragmatic approach to the shifting realities of your own life.
The fact is that very few older parents are in a position to act as an eternal wellspring of material resources and even if you are, the better course of action is to raise children with the strength and independence to stand on their own feet.
Never be afraid to learn something new
If there’s one tip that older professionals should consider taking from their 20-something counterparts, it’s the value of being willing to adapt to change and acquire new knowledge. With the plethora of reliable educational resources available online (often at low or zero cost), self-driven learning has never been easier.
Retirement expectations are changing fast too. With a combination of well-earned experience and some freshly developed skills, you might even be able to bolster that retirement fund with an entrepreneurial endeavour that only begins in your sixties.