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By Tony Collins, CFP®, AIF®, Associate Wealth Advisor

This is part three of a multi-part series on specific financial planning challenges and considerations that many people face over the decades of their adult lives. We hope you’ll find these perspectives valuable.

The fifth decade of life is a pivotal time for many. This is the time when most people become settled in their careers, grow their families – and life becomes a whole lot more complicated. With this much at stake, it’s important to be as prepared as possible for the future. Here are some ideas for making sure you have a financial plan that continues to cover all the critical bases.

Create an Estate Plan

It’s no coincidence that we’re listing this first. If you haven’t addressed it already, you should prioritize seeking out a qualified estate planning attorney to map out a plan for the inevitable. As an alternative, if your financial circumstances are fairly simple – or you’re DIY-oriented – there are many online options that can walk you through what’s required.

It’s not easy to talk about what happens when you’re gone, but it’s important to give your loved ones a seamless estate settlement. Far too many people get the wakeup call after a parent or other family member passes with a messy estate plan – or none at all. You’ll want to make sure your kids are taken care of with a guardian and that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

Estate plans are totally customizable. Whomever you work with can help you think through where you want your assets to go. While talking with clients, we insist on making sure their estate plan is in place and beneficiaries on retirement accounts are properly labeled. You may have seen examples in the news of celebrities like Prince passing without a will. It’s not worth the risk to let the courts decide what’s going to happen.

Evaluate your thoughts on retirement and put a plan into action

You may think about this every morning on the 405 freeway! But we find that many people have only a vague idea of what their ideal retirement will look like. You can’t necessarily plan everything down to a T – but as you enter your high-earning years of your 40s and 50s, it’s important to at least have an idea that will help drive your planning.

This is the time to be maximizing your tax-advantaged retirement accounts, and contributing regularly to after-tax savings accounts as well. We can help run analyses to look at required savings rates given your intended retirement date, future spending, and current resources. One report we run regularly includes both a “normal” retirement date (in your mid-late 60s/early 70s) and a second “financial freedom” retirement date, which may come much sooner and includes a rough calculation of the amount needed to save each year to get there.

We do this to help give context to what we’re helping you to plan for. In our experience, clients with a clear plan in place are more willing to spend less, save more, and create goals for retirement that are attainable.

Teach your kids about money early and often

At HH, we’re big advocates for financial literacy across all age ranges. We don’t believe that money should be a taboo subject in any household. Kids need to understand the value of a dollar and the effort you put into earning your money. Especially in a cashless society, a child who sees their parent pay for everything on a credit card misses out on the part where that money is tangible – and they have to work to earn it. They may get the wrong idea about how the system works.

If your children earn an allowance or have a part-time job, teach them the importance of saving and investing a portion of their income. Consider sharing one of the many sources of print and video media that can help them build foundational knowledge. Many institutions offer specialized accounts created to help kids see their savings grow with interest – and even have the opportunity to invest it. Sparking an interest in financial matters will pay dividends in the future (pun intended!). After all, there’s a good chance your child could be a bigger part of your own financial picture in the future

We would welcome the opportunity to discuss any of these suggestions with you – and more – to help you and your family set yourselves up for a healthy financial life.


Halbert Hargrove Global Advisors, LLC (“HH”) is an SEC registered investment adviser located in Long Beach, California. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. Additional information about HH, including our registration status, fees, and services can be found at This blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as personalized investment advice. It should not be construed as a solicitation to offer personal securities transactions or provide personalized investment advice. The information provided does not constitute any legal, tax or accounting advice. We recommend that you seek the advice of a qualified attorney and accountant. All opinions or views reflect the judgment of the author as of the publication date and are subject to change without notice.