FINANCIAL LIFE STAGES — MID-CAREER
MID-CAREER: IN THE GROOVE…OR RUT?
You have made it through the beginning years of adulthood and are settled into a career and lifestyle. Whether you have a family or remain single, life is flowing by. You might start asking if you are on the right path. Are you living the life you want? Sometimes life happens and you decide to love the life you have and make the most of it. This is the time to map out your life and financial goals. You know what you want now how are you going to get it? Often this time includes a partner and family and all the responsibilities that come along.
HOW DO I PROVIDE FOR MY LOVED ONES?
You work hard but is it enough to provide for loved ones if something happens to you or your family? It’s time to take a serious look at insurance which helps mitigate life risks. Do you have enough life insurance? Does your spouse or partner have enough? Life insurance is something many have but tend to ignore until it’s needed. Do you have disability insurance? Is your health insurance policy sufficient to cover any illness for you or your family? Will your property insurance protect you and your home?
Do you have flood insurance? We recommend doing an insurance analysis every year. Schedule a free insurance consultation now!
SHOULD I REFINANCE MY HOME?
So you bought a home a few years ago and wonder if you should refinance since rates are at an all-time low. It may seem obvious but this is only a good idea if current rates are lower than the mortgage rate you already have. Some factors to consider are: your current credit score, income, debt and expenses, as well as the home’s current value. All of these factors will impact your mortgage rate. Refinancing costs money, usually 2-3% of the loan amount, so another thing to consider is whether or not you will remain in the house for more than 2-3 years. If the mortgage is $200,000 the cost will be around $6000. How long will it take to reach your break-even point? If your new mortgage is $200 lower per month, it will take 30 months to pay for the refi cost. Also consider the fact that you will be extending the time it take to pay off the mortgage which may be important if you plan to stay in the home in retirement.
Most importantly, if you do plan to refinance, shop around. Rates and terms vary so don’t just refinance with the first deal to come along.
Here’s a refinance calculator.
CAN I AFFORD TO SAVE FOR MY KID’S COLLEGE?
Everyone with kids wrestles with this question. The simple answer is if you can afford it, do it. But can you afford it? If you have credit card debt, you can’t afford it. If you can’t afford to maximize your 401K contribution you shouldn’t worry about paying for college. Face the facts, paying for your kid’s college is a wonderful gift but it is not totally necessary. Student loans are available as well as grants and scholarships. Community colleges are still affordable and college age students have a lifetime of work ahead. Whenever possible, enlist the help of grandparents. Ask them to contribute to a 529 plan for birthdays and holidays. Send a small toy and put the rest of the money into the grandchild’s college fund.
For more information on the ways to save for college or apply for loans visit these sites:
WHAT EMPLOYER BENEFITS SHOULD I CHOOSE?
Most jobs come with a package of benefit offers. But which ones do you choose? When you first start you are handed a pile of options but at the time you may not have really thought them through. How much life insurance do you need? Which healthcare plan is best for you and your family?
Does the company provide disability insurance? Are there stock options, bonuses, or 401K plans? Fortunately most company benefits have a yearly enrollment period. We recommend that all employees take time every year to assess their options and make the best decisions for the next year. If you have a family who primarily depend on your income then you should consider all types of insurance available. For help in making these decisions and others, click here for information about our Money Decisions Project.
SHOULD I CHANGE CAREERS?
The mid-career phase of financial life may lead to questioning your current work. It’s a great time to pivot if you are dissatisfied with your current job or career. So many think they know what they want to do but after working in a job for a few years they decide they want to be a plumber and not an office manager. Should you prepare for a career change? Start by determining what you value. A happy life is a successful life. Can you manage your current budget if your income is reduced? Does your dream job require more education? Can your partner or spouse support the family during a change? Have you consulted with a career coach? The decision is challenging but what price happiness? Forty years in a boring career can take a toll on you physically, emotionally and spiritually.
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