Women Share Money Lessons They Learned Only After 40th Birthday


Life seems to be one giant cycle of thinking you know best, then realizing years later that you most definitely did not. We are constantly learning and evolving, whether in love, friendship, careers, or money. 

Midlife is a time when the mistakes of our past become painfully clear. Time feels limited, and we want to avoid wasting any of it by making the wrong decisions—especially when it comes to money.

One way of doing that is by learning from other women’s hard-earned wisdom and experiences. And we can reciprocate by sharing our experiences so other women can avoid our mistakes. 

Reddit’s Ask A Woman Over 40 community recently shared advice they picked up along the way. Specifically, they discussed financial wisdom that didn’t sink in until after their 40th birthdays.

1. Visualize Your Goals (Like, Really)

Woman making vision board on table
(Dasha Petrenko/Shutterstock.com)

Entering midlife can feel uncomfortably murky, and it’s difficult to push forward without feeling like you have a firm handle on the future. So, one woman suggests creating a physical vision board.

“Add your goals (health, wellness, travel, study, career, love, lifestyle, etc.) on top. [Then, add] every step to reach them from top to bottom. Keep the visual closer to you, and follow every step.” Moreover, don’t forget to “take time off for yourself. Do self-care by doing things that give you joy.”

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2. Put A Cap On Your Generosity

Generosity is an admirable virtue. But it can also be dangerous if you don’t know when to slow down your spending. As tempting as it might be to shower those closest to you with gifts—especially if gift-giving is your love language—be sure to do so mindfully.

“As a 43-year-old who is in a bit of a financial fix because I gave away more money than I could truly afford in the past few years, ‘love within your means’ strikes a chord with me,” one woman wrote.

“I strive to practice. I still give or spend a lot of money on other people. Birthdays, invitations, donations, etc., but not as much as I used to. People who love you will understand that a free get-together for an outdoor game is as good as an ‘epic’ bar or party night,” another added.

3. Use This Shift To Your Advantage

Woman looks at map in front of mountain range

Entering midlife is a transition, but it’s not an inherently negative change. One commenter suggested asking yourself some of the questions below to make sure the second half of your life will be productive and joyful.

“Do you want to move somewhere new? Do you want to start over with your career? What if you got a work visa and moved to a different country? What kind of things would you want to accomplish?” one woman suggested.

“I think focusing on what YOU want and doing things for self-care and self-love will benefit you in such a difficult chapter in your life and help you push through to the other side. Even though life is changing, it doesn’t have to mean it’s negative. This is the part where you can really have fun and go for things that sound exciting for you.”

“You’re old enough that you’ve learned from some mistakes,” the writer continues, “but young enough to know what you want in life and have time to make that happen.”

4. Even If You Can’t Travel, Find Adventure

Additionally, as one Redditor pointed out, you don’t need to fly across an ocean to get the most out of life. “At the risk of sounding like an ‘eat, pray, love’ cliché, traveling is pretty awesome,” the woman writes.

“But if you don’t have the means to do a lot of that, just try to do something different sometimes. I spent far too much time going to the same restaurants and clubs and, in general, doing the same things.”

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5. Ask For Help

Two women look at finances together at table
(Studio Romantic/Shutterstock.com)

Finally, one woman added that the best thing she did in her mid-thirties was to visit a financial planner who specialized in helping women.

“It was like the most practical, eye-opening, and motivating advice I’ve ever gotten. It was not just about money but about determining your goals, values, and setting up a truly practical plan to help me attain those goals.”

“The person I worked with did not charge very much,” she continues. “She had found herself in both a professional and personal crisis after divorcing in her late 40s, early 50s, and worked with a planner, and ultimately, wound up completely switching careers to become a planner herself to help young and older women alike.”

The midlife transition and beyond can be intimidating, especially when it comes to finances. But with the lessons you’ve already picked up along the way—and the support of women who have done the same—it can also be an exhilarating, joyful, and profitable time of life.  

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