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A midlife crisis tends to hit people between the ages of 45 and 64. It is considered a psychological crisis triggered by self-doubt, thoughts about mortality, and reflections on whether life goals have been met. These concerns manifest themselves differently with each individual, but commonly depression, anxiety, and an overwhelming need for change top the list.
Many people face a midlife crisis head-on, determined to shake up their lives and recapture their youth. Others might take an exotic vacation, buy a motorcycle, bail on a bad marriage, or replace their entire wardrobe with something trendier, regardless of whether their finances can support their need to splurge. In the aftermath, they are left in shock by the financial devastation.
Before a midlife crisis takes control of your money, consider these tips on how to save. Don’t become victim to your own self-doubts.
Consult with a Professional
Before you hit crisis mode, hire a financial manager. Look for an advisor with a finance or business management degree to help maximize your savings. Even just talking to someone at your local bank can help clear up questions and help you set up better ways to save. Just assume you will eventually face a financial crisis—midlife or otherwise—and save for it up front. These professionals can also help you invest income in a way that lacks the liquidity to make impromptu purchases. You can even create savings accounts that will help keep your income organized and your finances prepared for any emergency.
A midlife crisis is not always a bad thing, particularly if it wakes you up to the fact you are stuck in a professional rut. Use this time as an excuse to get a higher paying job rather than spending it on new toys. Something as simple as meeting new people and developing a new work routine can turn that crisis into a welcome opportunity. Update your resume, and work on new skills to create a better professional background for yourself. Something as easy and flexible as taking an online business degree course can keep you motivated and provide you with a new outlet and way of learning. Use this time to learn rather than spend, and create more opportunities for your future.
Cooler Heads Prevail
Anyone going through a period of re-evaluation and self-doubt is not thinking as clearly as they should be. Find a trustworthy person to use as a sounding board before making purchases. Whether that person is a friend, a spouse, or a therapist, level-headed advice may slow down that impulse long enough to consider the consequences. Questions like, Can you afford it?, Do you need it?, and Why are you buying it?, may provide that moment of clarity to turn that impulse purchase into a well-thought out decision that truly addresses a need, rather than act as an empty placeholder.
If you spend a lifetime practicing the same saving habits, then when a crisis hits, you may not even think about the fact you are still saving money. For example, if you habitually have your employer withhold for retirement and to direct deposit another percentage into your savings account, you are most likely to continue saving money while reassessing your life takes priority. Don’t let a midlife doubt shake your regular routine too much. You can still save money and keep up a budget while making personal life changes.
If your midlife crisis takes the form of collecting, taking on a new hobby, or impulse shopping, instead of taking a giant leap right into the middle of financial trouble, take baby steps. For example, if you want to take up golf, instead of buying a new set up clubs and joining a country club, rent clubs and visit a public driving range for a while to make sure you like the sport and are committed to practicing it first.
Coping with a midlife crisis is challenging enough without adding financial troubles to the mix. Plan ahead, and use your head to get through the challenge without breaking the bank.