How to Plan for Retirement if You’re in Your 40s

If you’re like most people, you probably spent your 20s and 30s feeling as though retirement is something that will happen to someone else in another life; afterall, many of us are spending that time completing our education and working towards mid-level careers. If you find yourself in your 40s, just now giving serious thought to your retirement—don’t panic! Southwestern Investment Group can guide you through the process of implementing an appropriate retirement plan. 

It might provide you with financial confidence to know that your 40s are considered your peak earning years, which means peak savings opportunities. Undoubtedly, you will need to accept that, in order to reach your retirement savings goals, you must be disciplined and consistent while enacting your financial plan. Armed with the right knowledge and support, we can help you reach your goals in no time.

Consider these helpful ways you can plan for retirement if you are in your 40s and slightly behind on meeting your savings goals.

Minimize Debt

One of the pillars of financial confidence is to rid your household of debt as quickly as possible in order to increase cash flow. Ideally, you have passed the peak of acquiring debt—student loans from your 20s and auto and mortgage loans from your 30s. Now that you’ve increased your earning potential and income from your youth, you have a great opportunity to adopt a more aggressive plan to minimize debt

Most people in their 40s will still have a mortgage. We encourage you to focus on consolidating and minimizing the following sources of consumer debt:

  • Credit card debt
  • Auto loans
  • Student Loans

These sources of debt generally come saddled with high interest rates, further hindering the process of freeing up your cash flow. The sooner you pay these debts off, the more income will be available for investment.

Disciplined Saving and Investing

It’s true that if you are considering your retirement plan for the first time while in your 40s, you will be playing catch-up. On average, a person in their 40s who currently has no retirement savings, will need to invest 20% of their income into retirement in order to retire in their mid-60s. If that sounds overwhelming, we are here to assure you it is, in fact, possible!

The easiest way to begin saving is through the 401k program offered by your employer; at a minimum, invest up to the employer’s match. You may also consider saving independently in a Roth IRA. IRAs grow tax-free and also offer qualified tax-free withdrawals, making them a great option. 

A word on investment: it’s important to maintain a diversified investment portfolio, however, keep in mind that risk should always be relative to your age. It is not worth taking on more investment risk to try and make up for lost time. Trust us

Take Care of You First

Although there is no denying that retirement is a vital component of your overall financial well-being, it is essential that you continue to prioritize your basic needs—food, shelter, utilities, clothing, and transportation. Retirement falls right behind these basic needs, especially since you will need around $1 million, $30k-40k annually, to live a comfortable retirement.

After meeting these basic financial needs, it might be tempting to begin shoveling savings into your children’s college savings. Something to keep in mind is that there are no scholarships for retirement. The money you have to live on is solely up to you, your income, and your disciplined savings. If need be, there are plenty of other avenues to acquire college funding for your children. 

Work with a Financial Advisor You Trust

There’s no reason to try and sort out a retirement investment plan, especially an aggressive one, on your own. Our financial advisors have seen it all. No matter how overwhelmed you might feel, Southwestern Investment Group can help you sort out your finances and create a path to meet your goals.

Southwestern Investment Group provides financial advising with industry knowledge and integrity. Contact us today to learn more about how you can begin saving for retirement in your 40s.

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Jeffrey T. Dobyns


President, SageSpring | Financial Advisor, RJFS 

Jeffrey T. Dobyns

President, SageSpring | Financial Advisor, RJFS

Beyond crunching numbers and investment strategies, at SageSpring, we’re about building relationships. When you encounter Founder & President of SageSpring, Jeff Dobyns, it’s easy to understand why this is at the very heart of who we are as a firm. You won’t find stuffy formalities with Jeff; instead, you can expect to find him sharing a warm smile, communicating a compelling vision, or patiently untangling life’s complex challenges with clients. He believes in truly getting to know clients, understanding their aspirations and priorities, and navigating their financial plans with a tailored, comprehensive approach. Our team members have often been caught taking notes on Jeff’s effortless relationship skills from a distance, and we admire them for striving to learn from one of the best. 

Jeff’s financial expertise and wisdom are the perfect match to his innate people skills. Jeff holds the prestigious CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM certification, Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®), and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChLU®) designations, and has held executive positions with financial planning firms for more than two decades. 

His dedication extends beyond the office to the boardroom and the local community, where Jeff is passionate about giving back. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Men of Valor, a prison ministry and mentoring program. Jeff also serves on the board of Send Musicians to Prison, which shares hope, healing and restoration with the imprisoned through musicians & artists. Jeff actively supports other initiatives in the community by sitting on the board of The Signatry of Middle Tennessee and the Halftime Institute of Nashville. 

Witnessing his four children, Gracyn, Hunter, Tanner, and Logan, excel on the field is almost just as rewarding, if not more, than celebrating the victories of seeing his clients overcome obstacles and build wealth. Spending weekends boating on the lake, hiking mountain trails, and fishing with his family are the moments Jeff cherishes most. It’s this grounded perspective that reveals the true meaning of wealth for Jeff: not just numbers on a page, but the freedom to create experiences that enrich your life and the lives of those you love. When you choose the Dobyns McMillin Wealth Team, you choose more than financial expertise. You choose a partner who champions your dreams, celebrates your victories, and walks besides you on the path to achieving your unique goals.

**Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.