Many people start questioning their lives when they reach their mid-40s and early 50s. Did they do enough? Is their marriage enough? What happened to all their young and vibrant years? Coupled with existential questions such as these are the inevitable negative consequences of aging. Joints begin aching, eyesight starts failing, and we just don’t have the energy or zest for life that we used to. When you think about all this, it seems pretty obvious that many people would fall into a funk or experience a full-blown breakdown that society has dubbed the ‘mid-life crisis.’  

Mid-life crises, if not property navigated, can result in late-life divorces and can have devastating consequences for your finances. The good news is, you don’t have to have one just because you are reaching a certain age. Here are some ways to avoid a mid-life crisis and enjoy your 40s and 50s more than any other time in your life.

Do Your Research

Many people don’t really understand what a mid-life crisis is or why it occurs. They think that reaching a certain age just means you suddenly want to buy a sports car, chuck your marriage, and start obsessing about getting older. There’s actually a lot more to it than that, and doing your research means you can learn and grow rather than react and possibly make some big blunders. Check out some books about why many people experience mid-life crises and what you can do to either avoid one or work through it. One of my favorite is Life Reimagined: The Science, Art and Opportunity of Midlife. This books follows one researcher’s journey to discovery of how amazing midlife can actually be.

Don’t Overreact

If you are already an emotional investor, you may be tempted to make major changes in your portfolio or pull money out to spend on items you think you need to have or vacations you think you need to take in mid-life. It’s important to slow down and think things through before you make any rash decisions. Have honest conversations with your friends and family about what you’re feeling and thinking. Have some accountability to another person who must approve large decisions before you make them (a partner or best friend is usually a good option). The important thing is to not do things in the heat of emotion that will hurt you down the road.

Understand What is Truly Important to You

Those who really get to know themselves are less likely to experience a mid-life crisis. Why? Because they have done their work to get to know what really matters to them. When you engage in self-reflection and realize that you have everything that truly matters to you such as a healthy family, a roof over your head, and goals for the future, you will be a lot less likely to get hit hard by the sudden realization you’re getting older. If you’re beginning to feel mid-life anxiety, it’s a sign you need to dig a little deeper into yourself. Do you really think you need to make huge changes to create a meaningful life or do you already have it and just need a few tweaks to realize it?

Reach Out for Help

Just as some people are not able to dig themselves out of a depression on their own, others simply can’t deal with the emotional impact of a mid-life crisis by themselves. If you’re really suffering, it’s time to reach out for help. You can speak with your financial advisor if money is your big concern, a therapist if you need some emotional support and clarity, or a marriage counselor if you feel your relationship is suffering during this time in your lives. You should never feel embarrassed to reach out for support and it’s important to recognize that you aren’t in this alone.

Are you reaching your 50s and starting to feel the first signs of an impending mid-life crisis? As I counsel my clients, now is the time to nip it in the bud before it leads to financial or emotional disaster. Use the above tips to work through your mid-life incident and, if you’d like advice on how to effectively manage your finances during this time, please reach out.

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Patrick Tucker, owner of True Measure Wealth Managementhas over 20 years experience in the industry and has spent the last 15 years learning the ins and outs of the fee-only advisory business. He focuses on client behaviors and what ‘wealth’ means for each individual client to provide caregiving plans that leads to a mindful fulfillment of financial goals. A lifelong learner, Patrick uses his continued knowledge to become a valued partner for his clients and help them explore the wisdom of true wealth.