In your 40s, you can look at your retirement savings and realize that you either have a healthy start on the future… or that it’s time for some emergency action. If you started contributing to your retirement fund in your 20s or 30s, your money has already been growing. You might even look at increasing your monthly contribution. But if you’ve waited until now to get started, it’s time to get serious. WHAT CAN YOU DO? If your employer offers a retirement plan - such as a 401(k) - you should take advantage of that right away and contribute as much as possible. Visit to find information about current contribution limits. If your budget has room, you should also consider putting money into an IRA each year. Study your retirement plan investment options and decide on the reward vs. risk levels you are comfortable with. Other things to consider... Don't forget about your emergency savings. Experts recommend that you maintain a savings account in a bank or credit union so you can have quick access to money for unexpected bills. Pay down debt. The more debt you have, the more you’ll be paying in interest costs – and that’s money that could be going to savings. If possible, pay your credit card bills in full at the end of each month. And setting a goal of paying your house off before you retire will be a huge help in reducing expenses. Taking positive steps now will make it all worthwhile later.