Welcome to what could be the highest-earning decade of your life.
Congratulations: as a mature adult, you're likely earning more than you ever have, and you should enjoy the success that comes with that. But your life may have also developed new layers of responsibility, like kids, a mortgage or embarking on new business and career opportunities.
With the RRSP contribution deadline just around the corner, now is the perfect time to consider how your financial health will change over the next decade. Even if you've already given up on your New Year's resolutions, you've got until the end of February to take advantage of your annual RRSP contribution room—and in the long run, saving for your retirement is going to feel a lot better than giving up carbs, right?
Here are five financial milestones to strive for in your 40s.
1. Shifting expenses
By this point in your life, you might be having kids, moving in with your partner or buying a home on your own or with friends. You may even be taking on the role as primary caregiver for your parents or grandparents. Blended families are becoming more common as well—1 in 10 Canadian children are part of a blended family, or step-family.
Balancing expenses for shifting living situations can be tricky. Consider programs like a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), which offers flexible and efficient way to begin investing early in your child's future, or a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA), which allows you to earn money tax-free in order to accelerate your savings. Additionally, Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) are low-risk investment options for earning interest on your savings. They offer a guaranteed rate of return, meaning you can rest easy knowing that the money you put towards your retirement, your children's education or your long-term savings remains secure.
2. Maximizing your income
This is the decade in which you're likely approaching the peak of your earning potential, so take steps to maximize your income. Be confident enough to ask for that raise, or invest in a passion project that could bring in some extra cash to feed your annual vacation fund.
While you should most certainly celebrate as your income increases, it's incredibly important to avoid lifestyle inflation. Consider setting up your paycheque deposits so that a portion comes out of your pay before it even hits your account. You may also have conflicting financial priorities, such as paying down or saving up for a down payment on a mortgage and saving for retirement or your child's education. For these reasons, now is a great time to begin taking stock of your finances and ensure that you're maximizing your income as much as possible.
3. Growing and diversifying your investment portfolio
Now that you have more money coming in, consider the unique global investment opportunities provided by HSBC Mutual Funds1. With a Mutual Fund, you can access domestic, international and emerging markets and give your portfolio the potential to generate higher returns than if you had invested in Canada alone. Consider reaching out to an HSBC Mutual Fund Advisor to help you nail down an investment plan; or, invest online through HSBC Wealth CompassTM.
The InvestDirect account2 is an online, self-directed brokerage platform unique to HSBC that provides you with easy navigation and quick order execution. This is another great way to take control of your investments, as it allows you to meet your investment goals in specific accounts (individual and joint Canadian, foreign currency, margin and more) and research and monitor global markets.
4. Saving for retirement
By this age, you should ideally be maxing out your RRSP contribution room each year, or at least taking advantage of tax-sheltered savings options such as a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). There are a few benefits to opening an RRSP: you may receive a tax break for contributing by allowing an income tax deduction based on your contribution amount and you can choose whatever investment vehicles you feel most comfortable with — like mutual funds, a high rate savings account or a GIC—and house them within your RRSP. You can also borrow from your RRSP to help pay for full-time education or training, meaning that if you or your partner are interested in sharpening up your professional skills, that opportunity is readily available to you. This borrowed amount can also be put towards the purchase of your first home.
5. Reducing your debt
When you were in university, you probably expected to say goodbye (and good riddance) to debt by the time you reached 40. If that didn't turn out to be the case, you're not alone—just 15 per cent of Canadians age 35-44 are living debt-free. Regardless of whether you've made a substantial or miniscule dent in your debt, now is the time to really begin reducing it. The best part? You can continue to pay off your debt while saving for retirement or juggling other financial priorities.
Your 40s are a crucial time for your financial health. The good news is, even if you haven't begun saving for retirement or your kids' post-secondary education, this is the decade to get started! You're earning more, and you're wise enough to know that just because you're making more, doesn't mean you need to be spending more. Start planning to meet these milestones with the help of a financial advisor—your future self will thank you.