Mid-life crisis may sound like a pseudo-psychological condition but it has revealed itself to be a real emotional phase that people between the ages of 35 and 50 years go through. The intensity and specific outfalls vary greatly with respect to geography, cultural values, standard of living, and supposedly even gender, but it has come to be recognised as a turning-point in life, marked enough to financially plan for.
So what is a mid-life crisis? It is a phase when all existential questions come to the fore and you suddenly find yourself questioning and re-assessing your choices so far. For a lot of people this takes the form of a deep distress at having lost precious time and not having achieved their potential, both professionally and personally. Some people like to go down the personal introspection path and find greater meaning in their lives.
Whatever form it takes, this crisis in all likelihood will put extra strain on your wallet. Makes sense then to prepare for it through rational means. Start saving up for any, some, or all of the following possibilities:
Suddenly Overactive Social Life
One way to reclaim that feeling of being young and relevant is to re-join the partying masses at nightclubs, discotheques, concerts, and other places filled with less inhibited, more raucous crowds. This is a psychological ploy you would want to play out just to feel connected, but the sudden uptick in social engagement would also mean greater expenses in the form of bills, shopping strain while buying more clothes and shoes, and more.
Another common sign of a mid-life crisis is a pressing need to get out and explore the world. People often start booking cruises, expensive resort stays, foreign sojourns, and lots of once-in-a-life-time kind of trips. Not inherently a bad idea, but this urgency could involve recklessness and a particular disregard for financial health and safety. The point again is to make good of lost time, but cramming 10 vacations in a year would be exhausting, and will wring your wallet dry!
This one is a mid-life crisis trope – of a middle-aged person making a hugely expensive purchase, usually an SUV or a mansion, seemingly out-of-the-blue and totally out of character! Tropes do stand true sometimes, and this one surely has on multiple occasions. Lots of people, including too many celebrities, have thrown grave caution to the winds and suddenly ended up draining their entire savings in a humongous purchase that has little relevance in their lives except to boost the ego. Again, one may strive to buy material things to fill a confidence gap, but that is going to cost a lot of money and may endanger your future severely.
Mid-life crisis can make people extra vulnerable and conscious about their looks, often pushing them to explore cosmetic surgery options. This in fact has become a big business, with middle-aged women and men spending thousands of dollars every year. Another medical expense could be linked to psychological problems – depression is common during this phase and one may be forced to seek counselling and medication.
Another trope – a person stuck in a mid-life crisis would often start to feel unfulfilled in long-term marriages or relationships and/or indulge in affairs that could lead to break-ups. The number of divorces often go up in this age-group, with possibly both partners looking outwards for fulfilment and assurance. Any break-up is emotionally taxing and can lead to added financial stress.
Empty Nest Syndrome
Women especially, and couples generally, often are facing a suddenly empty home at this age, and this can throw them into an emotional loop of identity crisis. Couples may try to assuage the confusion through travel, or home refurbishments, re-connection with friends, or with newer hobbies. All of these will naturally involve greater expenditure, so saving up before-hand will make you that much less stressed about life!