Preparing Ahead

Starting Over at 40

By May De Jesus-Palacpac, Brighterlife.com.ph

Comments (5)

Starting over financially at 40 doesn’t sound so ideal, right? But when it’s your reality, it’s not something you choose to settle in, but rather, it’s something you embrace.

It’s all really a matter of mindset. There are times when my husband and I would feel frustrated about what we could have done better in the past to be more financially stable than we are now, but you see, times have changed and we’re reminded of that constantly.

There are now more opportunities to prepare for our future and for the future of our children even at 40.

There is hope for us for a brighter life.

Squandering musicians

My husband and I were professional musicians before we decided to step off the live entertainment circuit to try our hand in other things that we are skilled at. But back then, we were living off from gig to gig.


The author and her husband during their life as professional musicians. 

We weren’t really unfortunate, to be perfectly honest. We enjoyed long-term engagements at great venues and were booked five to six times a week almost every month; and unlike most musicians in the circuit, we were paid rightfully by our clients especially towards our last four years of performing.

The problem was that we failed to handle our finances responsibly. We spent a lot and saved none.


Learning our lesson the hard way

A few months after our eldest son was born, I stopped singing professionally and my husband chose to offer guitar lessons instead of throwing himself back into playing in nightly gigs with other bands. We don’t regret our career choices, but it was when our financial struggles started.

With no savings in the bank we could barely make ends meet. We had to give up our cable and phone subscriptions, and there were times when we had to endure a day or two without electricity until a pay check would come in and we can pay the bill.

Two kids and a baby in the tummy later, we accepted that our arrangement was not working out and we had to make changes. We moved out of the home we’ve grown to love and moved into a tiny apartment that cost only half the rent we used to pay. We stayed in that apartment for a year until we have regained our footing.

My husband found a regular-paying job with benefits that included an HMO or Health Maintenance Organization. A year later, we agreed for me to take on writing and editing jobs and work from home.

Our jobs are huge breakthroughs for us. We consider them the beginning of our journey towards a better financial future.

We are not there yet. We have even stumbled a little along the way. But we have made such good progress. Our children’s future is no longer as bleak as it used to look.

Here are some of the things we do that worked for us:

1. We looked for more stable sources of income

My husband is a Music Major with a knack for technology, so when he was given the opportunity to put these skills into good use and earn from it, he grabbed it. He’s been in the same organization for five years, and I’m happy that he did not need to turn away from the things that he loves to do.

I, on the other hand, shifted my passion into writing. We invested on a laptop and internet connection to help me deliver better work to my clients.

You can say that I’m a happy writer!

2. We pay our debts

We had accumulated some debts over the years. We are fortunate enough to have been released by some of the people we owe money to. For the rest, we made arrangements to be able to pay the amount we owe.

We are not done yet, but we only have a few months to go. We can’t wait to declare that we are completely debt-free!

We have resolved on taking care of this first because we don’t want our children to inherit our debts later on.

3. We made practical goals

We’ve been tempted many times over to make a loan for a house or a new car, but we remind ourselves time and time again that the right way to go is to start on savings and financial investment first.

We have set our eyes on Sun Life Financial’s Mutual Funds which I came across on my Facebook news feed.

Did you know that they have investments created for people starting out at 40? Php 5,000 is enough for you to start. It’s such an exciting thing to find out about!

4. We strive to live within our means

I must admit that there are times when we overspend and the repercussions of this are usually unpleasant. But as a whole, we have learned to live within our means.

We still enjoy family days and go places together, but we prioritize the things that need to be prioritized, such as giving our tithes and paying our rent, our bills, buying healthy food for our children, and spending for their education.

As Right Start author Yeng Remulla wrote: it’s fun to be able to pay your bills on time.

As for our tithes, it makes us remember that at the end of the day, it is God that gives us the ability to work.

5. We listen to financially smart people

My husband and I did not have a strong background in handling finances properly, but we are blessed to be surrounded with finance-savvy friends. We listen to them when they talk about money and business, we ask questions, and we read books and magazines about finances.

We educate ourselves and share what we learn to our children. We want to raise them to have the right concept about money and to know to how make sound financial decisions.

We don’t want them to make the same mistakes we made so we’re picking up our pieces and are trying as much as we can to show them how to go about it the right way.


40 isn’t too late

When you have children, your perspective in life changes.

My husband and I are aware that we started a bit late on our financial journey, but we are not about to waste our time wallowing in self-pity and drowning ourselves in emotional what-could-have-beens.

Instead, we choose to focus on what is available for us, such as the availability of work and resources through technology and internet, and opportunities for investment such as what Sun Life offers.

And to be thankful for them.

We want to be able to retire peacefully and we want to leave something for our children too. There is hope for us. There is hope for you too. God is faithful.

May De Jesus-Palacpac is a blogger, full-time housewife and work-at-home mom to three little acrobats. Get to know more about her parenting tips and favorite things from home schooling to cooking via http://www.fullyhousewifed.com. 


Need help on planning your finances well?

The right person might be an advisor who can walk you through the steps of successful financial planning.
Don’t have an advisor yet? Email us at editor@brighterlife.com.ph.

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