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Life begins at forty—don’t you dare forget it

By | Aug 22nd 2011 | 3 min read


Often, people say life begins at 40. Does it really begin at this age?

A general belief in this saying continues to lead some young people into financial recklessness as they wait to turn 40 and start organising their money goals.

Old people with modest means continue getting depressed, thinking that they have made "terrible" money mistakes that are beyond redemption.

Letting go of all their money caution, some old people become desperate and squander any little wealth they have to fit in the groove of really living regardless of the consequences.

Personal finance experts say that people can put their finances in order at any age. They advise that life starts at any age, and does not end.

The dream of a well-paying upper-management job in a successful company at age 40 is just but an illusion unless one works for it.


Without firm commitment and a financial plan, the age 40 does not guarantee one a good company car, a luxurious apartment and plenty of young women (and men) to while the time with.

Shem Karanja, a 60-year old city businessman says that he believed that life actually starts at 40, but lost his job at 37 before this golden age had come.

"I started looking for a new job, but discovered the bitter fact that younger applicants were getting more consideration than me", he says.

He adds that every time he failed he would go back home depressed. "I was getting onto 40 and desperate for a job", he says. In deed, Karanja was almost trapped in the thinking that after 40 he would be unemployable and miss out on the famed "life".

Every job interview he attended was merely to confirm this fact.

But he swore to regain his self confidence. "I re-examined my skills and qualification and work experience and decided to go into business and has never looked back since", he says.

He advises people who are in their fourties with no clear financial break to have a positive mind. "Fill your time with activities that can generate an income and don’t waver in your money dreams regardless of how long it takes to attain them", he says.

Doreen Katana, a 55 year-old human resources practitioner, agrees that life begins at 40. "Before 40, many people spend their time wishing and looking around for meaning", she says. But by 40, she adds, people get the idea that the only place to look for inspiration is within themselves. "Many people stabilise in their careers, education and family in their late 30s and early 40s", she says. Their financial journeys are set and life falls into a pattern of less and less expenditures as their children start leaving the nest, she adds.


According to Mrs Katana, the trick in enjoying life after fourty is to start raising a family and saving for retirement early. "I had my two children by the age of 22 and by the time I and my husband were turning fourty, our last born was a first year student at university", she says. "An investment we had jointly began while in our 30s began to bear fruits as the expenses for our children diminishes", adds Mrs Katana.

"My husband and I have some cash to spare and we have more social prominence", she says.

She adds that they take vacations frequently and have begun new hobbies of salsa dancing and traveling. "In fact people say that we look more youthful with time and to me this is the famous life that begins at 40", she says.

But Geoffrey Kamatu, a schoolteacher, says that proponents of the idea that life starts at fourty are simply chasing a myth. According to him, age 40 signals the starts of the donkey years for most working Kenyans. "When I turned 40 my birthday present was a bank loan and children in both primary and secondary school", he says.

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