Mid-life is a critical time for making the right financial decisions. It is a time when there are many demands and considerations to be juggled; partners and children, parents, career, personal goals, current lifestyle and future lifestyle. It can be a crazy time and it seems like there is never enough money to go around. The way to deal with the craziness is to work on some fundamental principles to build a solid base for managing income and wealth.
Take charge of where your money goes. Money has a habit of disappearing quickly when there are lots of competing priorities. Use multiple bank accounts to allocate your money to savings and different types of spending; your financial commitments (mortgage, rent etc), your household expenses (food, power etc) and personal expenses.
Have an emergency fund. Each payday set aside a small amount to build up a fund for when unexpected things happen.
Pay off your mortgage as soon as possible. Aim to pay off your mortgage at least ten years before your plan to retire. Set up a line of credit as part of your mortgage structure with the remainder on a fixed rate. The credit limit should be about the same amount as you can save over the next 1-2 years towards paying your mortgage off quicker. Aim to get the line of credit balance to zero over that time, then redraw the funds to pay a chunk off the balance of your mortgage when the fixed period expires. Repeat the process.
Contribute to KiwiSaver. Put in enough to be eligible for the maximum tax credit while you are focussing on repaying your mortgage. Once your mortgage is gone, either increase your KiwiSaver contributions or set up another retirement fund, contributing enough to enable you to achieve your retirement goals.