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Why Americans in their 40s feel they need more money

While you might think folks in their 40s are more financially secure than, say, your average 20-year-old, Andy Smith, director of financial planning at Edelman Financial Engines, told Moneywise in an email that this age group tends to juggle a significant number of responsibilities, such as mortgage payments, saving for retirement and caring for their kids.

And it’s not just the growing costs of daycare or nannies for younger children — which could become even more expensive now that boosted funding for child care centers has expired.

The 40-plus group is also part of the “sandwich generation, which means they could be financially supporting both their kids and their elderly parents.

And as their own golden years draw nearer, some experts recommend folks in their 40s have at least three times their annual salary shored up. This means if you make around $150,000 a year, you should plan for a minimum of $450,000 in the bank by the time you hit your fourth decade — which isn’t so easy to achieve when you’ve got other financial commitments to consider.

Of course, when it comes to feeling worried about money, having more cash in the bank isn’t always the answer. The Edelman survey found that, among respondents who work with a financial planner, 76% say that they stress less about finances because of the extra help — although only 37% of those surveyed work with one.

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Older Americans require fewer funds to feel carefree

While most of the survey respondents agreed they needed significantly more cash in order to feel worry-free as opposed to feeling wealthy, these numbers actually reverse for older age groups.

Americans in their 60s and 70s say they need less money to feel worry-free instead of wealthy. In general, the amount of funds these older individuals say they need to never worry about money trickles down after they hit their 50s.

Smith says this reversal can be attributed to older Americans having fewer financial responsibilities, with their retirement savings already banked, their mortgages possibly paid off and their children likely out of the house. It becomes a lot simpler for people to live worry-free on fewer funds than it does for them to feel wealthy.

“Additionally, as Americans age, they can take advantage of social welfare programs, like Social Security and Medicare, to alleviate some of the financial strain of healthcare and daily living expenses,” Smith notes.

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Serah Louis is a reporter with Moneywise.com. She enjoys tackling topical personal finance issues for young people and women and covering the latest in financial news.

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