A midlife money checkup

Are you still on pace to reach your goals despite today's market woes? Find out by taking this nine-step test of your financial health. It won't hurt a bit.

Where did the time go?
Where did the time go?
Just yesterday your financial life was all about scrambling to make rent, learning what a 401(k) was and lobbying to get out of the cubicle and into an office. Now you're pushing 45 or 50, you've got a mortgage and college tuition bills, and you're the boss of a crop of ambitious 22-year-olds.

Face it, you've reached middle age. Sure, you have a long road ahead - three or four decades or more. But when it comes to your finances, you're not a kid anymore.

"Back in your twenties, you probably thought turning 50 was far in the future," says Mari Adam, a financial adviser in Boca Raton, Fla. "Guess what? Your future is starting now."

Will that future work out the way you want? Hard to say, but you'd be wise to see how you're doing so far. That means conducting a head-to-toe money checkup that covers everything from investing to insurance.

Once you know the state of your financial health, you should find it easier to get in shape and then stay on track toward your goals, whether they include early retirement, career changes or starting a business.

How do you take this test? Ask yourself the same questions that a financial planner would pose. Your answers will lead you to your diagnosis and, if you find ills, a cure. Get started.
Last updated February 11 2008: 1:33 PM ET

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