Several weeks ago, we introduced you to our four-part series on the dos and don’ts of personal finance in your 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s.

In part one, we gave you a roadmap to managing money in your 20s, showing how you should go about paying off bills and starting to save. In part two, we guided you through your 30s and talked about putting money away for everything from mortgages to your kids’ college educations. In this installment, Liz WestonMSN Money columnist and author of the book The 10 Commandments of Money – takes you through your 40s:


…step up your retirement savings.

…tend to your health. A sedentary lifestyle and bad eating habits can lead to disabling health problems that can jack up your medical bills and stunt your earning power.

…increase your emergency fund. The older you are and the more you make, the longer finding another position can take after a job loss.

…consider disability insurance. You’re more likely to be injured than to die during your working years.

…review your estate plan and make sure it reflects your current wishes.


…overspend on educating your kids. Yes, college educations are important, but there are low-cost options and loans available.

…refinance your mortgage into another 30-year loan. You want to own your house outright by retirement age.

…go overboard on home improvements. They aren’t really “investments” – the return when you sell is almost always much less than what you paid.

…put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify your investments and make sure you’re not taking excessive (or too little) risk.

…panic if market setbacks reduce your retirement savings. You have decades ahead of you to recover from losses and continue to build wealth.

What do you think is the most important part of managing finances in your 40s? How do your personal-finance habits match up with those on this list