Working in your 40s – what you need to know

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05 February 2019

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Your 40s is a very different phase of life when compared to what’s gone before. No longer do you have the excuse of youth (despite your internal protestations), you’re among the more experienced people at work and your day-to-days are full of considerable responsibility as you edge towards your half century.

Ideally, you’ll have bought your own home (with a chunk paid off the mortgage), built up some savings, maybe have some investment properties and perhaps a share portfolio.

That’s ideally, of course. The reality may be very different.

If you have kids they’ll likely be at school if not further education, still living at home and probably only occasionally contributing to the overall household budget. And your parents too, they’ll be entering a phase of life where they may need more care, which could have financial repercussions for you.

Your earning potential

Your 40s should be some of your peak career years. You’ve carefully built up your knowledge, skills and reputation, and you’ll want to continue building your earning potential over the next decade too.

Research shows, however, that salary growth slows in your 40s and almost reaches a plateau by the time you’re 501. So there’s little time to hang about when it comes to asking for that salary increase or going for that promotion as your salary in your 40s will have a major impact on the quality of your retirement.

Going it alone?

It may be the perfect decade to go it alone work-wise though. With some savings and equity behind you, you may start that business you’ve always dreamed of – after all, 45 is the average age of successful start-up founders in the US2.

The reality of your own mortality

So, you have dependants, a mortgage, parents, a possible business and a retirement that’s all reliant on you maintaining your health and your ability to work throughout the decade.

However, your 40s is also the decade when your own mortality comes into sharp focus. It happens to all of us.

It could be something to do with reaching the halfway point of average life expectancy, seeing your parents age and watching your own children become real life adults.

It could also be the fact that, statistically, we enter a period of life when serious illness and, yes, death starts to become something to be mindful of. 

In 2017, almost 30 people in their 40s were diagnosed with cancer every day in Australia3. High blood pressure and cholesterol increasingly become issues too4, while almost 14 people in their 40s died each day in the country5. Sobering isn’t it?

Protection mode!

In order to protect your family, business, assets and future, you need to ensure your life insurance covers everything you need it to – and at the right levels for you..

Talk to a professional to make sure you have the correct level of life insurance, salary continuation insurance, illness, accidental death and total and permanent disability insurance.

Your 40s is a decade to navigate very strategically. If you choose the right course you’ll set up the rest of your life. If you take – or you are forced to take – a different course, it could have significant repercussions.




These pages contain general information only and do not take into account your personal circumstances, objectives or needs. This information is provided in good faith and believed to be accurate at the time it was placed on the MLC Life Insurance website, however we make no representation or warranty as to the reliability, accuracy or completeness of this information.

The information provided is not intended to constitute financial, legal or medical advice, or to substitute for the need to consult with your advisers or treating practitioners. Before acting on any information in these pages, you should consider whether it is right for you and consult with your financial, legal and/or medical advisers.

Any views or opinions expressed or referenced here (including in any video content) or in any webpages to which hyperlinks are provided do not represent the opinion of MLC Limited, unless we say otherwise. 


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