What to Do When You’re a Financial Late Bloomer



Many people find themselves behind financially in their 30s, 40s, or even later in life. Maybe you’re a financial procrastinator, or you faced setbacks like job loss or health issues that hampered your earnings—or you simply didn’t make finances a priority in your youth. Regardless of the reason, there are steps you can take to improve your money situation, no matter your age.

Review your spending and budget

First, take an honest look at your current financial habits. Document everything you spend for a month. Look for areas where you can cut back, even in small ways. Use the data to make a realistic budget based on your income and essential costs. Having a budget is key to freeing up more to put toward your financial goals. To make your goals more actionable, look into budgeting apps or other tools to automate and remind you of key tasks and deadlines.

Start by rerouting some of your expenses. If you haven’t already, make a list of all the things you spend money on, and consider which non-essential expenses could go to your emergency fund instead.

Start small to build momentum

Tackle just one or two small financial tasks that you’ve been putting off. Build the habit of acting right away on manageable tasks. Getting down on yourself for your money habits can backfire in the form of fear-based decision-making. It can help to zoom out and celebrate your personal finance strengths so you have the confidence to keep making smarter financial decisions down the line. Small wins add up, and you may find your finances aren’t as bad as you think.

Tackle credit card and high interest debt

Next, make a debt payoff plan. List all debts by interest rate and focus on eliminating high rate credit card balances first before moving onto lower rate debts (like cars or student loans). Consider consolidating debts to lower rates where possible. And you should always aim pay off your statement balance in full and on time.

When it comes, specifically, to getting out of debt, you don’t want to live in fear and stay in the dark. Here’s our guide to getting organized enough to pay off your debt.

Focus on saving—even small amounts count

Failure to save and invest early on can mean losing out on years of potential compound growth. Begin saving whatever you can each month. Even $20 or $50 a month is a start towards building saving. Sign up for a high yield online savings account and set up automated transfers from your checking account monthly. Having a dedicated savings makes it easier to leave the money alone and watch it grow with compound interest over time.

Meet with a financial advisor

Consult an advisor like a fee-only certified financial planner to review your unique situation and map out a specific plan toward your monetary goals. An outside expert perspective can help you identify blindspots as well as provide accountability on follow through. Seek second opinions if needed until you have a workable roadmap. Here’s our guide to hiring a financial advisor who won’t rip you off.

Consider ways to increase income

Finally, explore options for increasing your income streams to have more money to put towards debt repayment and reaching future financial aims. Take on freelance work in your off hours, look for a higher paying job, negotiate a raise at your current job, or pick up extra shifts. The more you can dedicate toward financial priorities now, the faster you can exit the late bloomer category for good.

The key is to not get discouraged, but instead get to work mapping out a comeback plan. Regardless of your current financial standing, implementing budgetary discipline, making smart repayment and savings choices, and increasing earnings can all help you gain considerable financial ground—even later in life. For more, check out these steps to start healing your relationship with money.





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