Personal Development

You Can Still Master These 5 Life Skills In Your 40s

byShu Rin Hoe
  • Aug 23, 2021
  • 5 mins

Turning 40

Hitting the big 4-0 is a big milestone, considering that you’ve learnt so many skills and life lessons over the years that have defined who you are today. But lest you think that you’re past the learning stage of your life, now is in fact the opportune time to enrich yourself further by picking up new skills or sharpening existing ones. By upskilling and lifelong learning, you get to push your comfort level, open up new opportunities and possibilities in both career and non-career aspects, and even, discover new talents and passions! 

To get you started, here are some ideas on what you can learn and master, to excel even more at work and in life. 

1. Negotiation skills

One essential skill to get ahead at work and in life is the ability to negotiate. Whether we realise it or not, we actually do this very often, from requesting for a deadline extension at work, to haggling at the market, or even to bargaining with our children on how much screen time they get. At 40, you have a better understanding of what is important to you and the compromises you are willing to accept. You also have the relevant experiences (especially at work) as bargaining chips. So trust me, when I say that once you’ve gotten the hang of negotiating, you’ll be able to set up many win-win situations for yourself in no time! 

2. Public speaking and presentation skills

Public speaking and presentation skills

Carrying yourself well when expressing your thoughts and ideas is one of the most important ways to get yourself heard. You’ll be able to engage your audience and incite influence. Armed with knowledge and experience from the four decades of your life, you can enrich your speeches and presentations to make conversations more interesting and unique. Having such skills can contribute significantly to getting by-in from management, clinching a deal with a client, or simply, improving your self-confidence and presence. 

3. Assertiveness

Have you ever admired someone who always seems to be able to hold their ground and navigate any situation, no matter how challenging – perhaps an indecisive client, or a demanding manager? What this person is displaying is assertiveness – the ability to stand up for oneself in a calm, confident and agreeable manner. This is not to be mistaken with aggression however as assertiveness means being confident yet respectful, keeping in check one’s body language, choice of words and tonality when communicating to those around you.

4. Networking

Networking in business

Another key tool to growth and success is networking. It isn’t merely an exchange of information, but rather a chance to establish and nurture long-term working relationships with mutual benefits. For example, should you ever need a contact for a vendor or a new job opportunity, chances are that you will have a contact who will be able to assist. Aside from that, networking provides an avenue to exchange ideas and elevates your profile. If you’re lucky, you might also be able to develop some long-lasting personal relationships.

5. Managing your personal finances

Above all that, the most important skill to master is personal finance management which means knowing how to budget, save and invest, so that you can build financial security for yourself. These days, this also includes retirement planning as a major consideration as we are all living longer lives.  

Planning for retirement as soon as possible gives you a good head-start in building a nest egg for your retirement, so that you can enjoy your golden years to the fullest. Income’s Gro Retire Flex Pro, for example, provides monthly cash payouts1 during your retirement, giving you a steady stream of income. Depending on your lifestyle needs, you also have the flexibility to choose how long you want to pay the premiums, when you want to retire, the amount you desire and the duration of the payouts.


If your interest is now piqued, here are some tips on where to start and what to look out for. 

• Enrol in courses from educational institutes 

For starters, make use of your SkillsFuture credits and start exploring their portal which offers courses for varied needs and interests for both professional and personal development. Aside from that, you can also check out LinkedIn’s free courses and Google Digital Garage which offers courses on data & tech, digital marketing and career development. The great thing about some of these online courses is that you get to learn at your own pace! 

• Learn from people around you 

Known as social learning, this involves observing and picking up tips and tricks from those around you, be it your colleagues, friends or family. Try to see what stands about them, what you can emulate and how it can be applied in your situations. This is highly valuable as we all have different backgrounds, experiences and expertise. That said, do bear in mind that what might work well for another may not work well for you. 

• Join interest groups


Joining interest groups

Depending on your industry and interests, there are many professional groups around. Do a quick search online for such groups on platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Telegram – or simply ask around. For example, there’s the Toastmasters Club of Singapore which can help you to sharpen your public speaking skills, Business Networking Singapore Meetup Group to take your business ideas to greater heights, and Singapore Computer Society for those who are interested in all things tech. These groups also make great avenues to rub shoulders with more like-minded people, so go on out to build your network!

• Speak to the pros

Just like how you specialise in your field of work, there are many others who are experts in their own rights and are not life coaches, teachers or trainers by profession. For example, a financial advisor can help you to navigate the complex path of financial planning and recommend plans that best suit your needs. 

Learning a new skill in your 40s

In general, always remember that it’s never too late to master new life skills and improve yourself as there’s so much to look forward to when you are just in your 40s. 

At the heart of it all, it’s important to start planning ahead now so that you safeguard everything you have worked so hard to build over the years. For personalised professional advice, connect with Income’s advisors today!  

Shu Rin Hoe is a business writer with over nine years of experience in writing, spanning lifestyle, travel, health and wellness and finance.

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