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Home » Blog » The 4 Things You Need to Have Figured Out By 40

The 4 Things You Need to Have Figured Out By 40

Published by Autumn on June 07, 2021

There’s no denying the overwhelming amount of pressure society places on us to achieve things by a certain age. Social media doesn’t help, either. But if you take a step back and cast your sight further, there is more than just material achievements.  Here’s a simple guide on what you need to have figured out by 40.

 1. Your Retirement Plan

Palms trees…the salty smell of the sea…a piña colada in hand…while this sounds like a dream, don’t beat yourself up if you’re just getting started or you haven’t met some timeline of where you’re “supposed” to be with your retirement planning.  In this uncertain time, these thoughts are rare luxury. We have to get back to basics – managing and saving your money is important and necessary.

There is no doubt 30s and 40s is a stage in your life where you have many financial obligations such as new family, children’s education, a home mortgage, insurance plans etc. Retirement may rank low on your priorities as the statutory age in Singapore is 62 years old. But it’s never too early to start planning and stashing away money for retirement. When you are young, you leverage on compounding interest and dollar cost averaging for investment so you don’t have to worry about timing the market to grow your retirement fund.

Retirement is not just about finances. There is also the quality of life. It’s important that you build a healthy lifestyle – exercise and diet into your retirement plan so that you not only have the means to retire well, you also have a choice to do what you had planned.

2. Your Identity

Life is not a race. For most part of our working life, our identity has been strongly tied to our career achievements or to the expectations others have of us. It’s important that you detach your identity from material achievements, especially during this time of industry disruptions. This is a good time to do a reflection on what really matters to you. Focus less on doing, instead ask “Who do I want to be?” A good way is to imagine writing your own eulogy.

According to Bronnie Ware, a palliative nurse from Australia, many of her dying patients listed this as their biggest regret – “I wished I had lived for myself more”. This is a poignant reminder for us to not just count our days, but make our days count. Be true to yourself and not try to live up to the expectations of others.

3. Your Strong 5

We are focused on making a living during most of our adult life. Inevitably, our conversations with our colleagues mainly revolve around work. Who would you go to when you need a listening ear without being judged? Have you cultivated a close relationship with family and friends, beyond just superficial conversations? Cultivating a strong relationship will help you stay anchored and uplift you in times of need. Actively seek out and build your “strong 5” – by developing deep connections with people you feel safe and trust and build a team of strong 5 to rally and support you. And be someone’s “strong 5” as well.

4. Your Purpose In Life

As you are working towards retirement, this is a good time to take stock of your life and try visualising the kind of person you want to become. Finding your purpose and ways to feel relevant will give you more meaning in life. A clear purpose will also direct you to find the right platform to serve. Start building your community or develop new hobbies and be socially engaged in areas you are passionate in to help you ease into retirement eventually.  Without a life purpose, you might have the means to live but no meaning in living.  Start building on the success or what you have achieved in your life and transform it into significance and achieve something bigger than yourself.

We all live our lives at our own pace, there’s no right or wrong answers for when you get things done. However these are 4 things that frames how you want to make your life count.


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Download the app on the App Store or Google Play Store, to help you simplify financial planning into small steps.

The information in this article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, investment advice, trading advice or recommendation of any sort offered or endorsed by Autumn.


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