Steve Martin loves being an older father.

The 71-year-old actor welcomed a daughter into the world four years ago with his 45-year-old wife Anne Stringfield, and he has admitted he thinks he would have been too focused on his career to embrace parenthood earlier in his life.

Speaking to AARP The Magazine's June/July issue, he said: ''If I'd had a child earlier, I would have been a lousy father, because I would have misplaced my attention on my career.''

The star explained he doesn't want to make the same mistakes his own father made, and added that he makes sure his little daughter - whose name hasn't been made public - is showered with affection.

It's not all one way though, with Steve admitting he gets so much joy from having her in his life.

He added: ''I am very forthcoming with her, and it's great. She's giving me way more than I'm giving her.''

Reflecting on his life now, the 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles' actor described it currently as ''very, very happy'' and suggested it had progressed in just the right way.

He said: ''I mean, it's actually the perfect shape of a life. Except the hard parts in the beginning -- the disharmony, panic, pain, with occasional moments of great moments and comedy success.''

Things have certainly approved with age for Steve, who suffered with hypochondria and panic attacks during his youth.

However, those feelings stopped - with the star joking that he realised he shouldn't ''worry'' when none of his concerns actually came into fruition.

He laughed: ''I was worried all these years that I was going to die, and I never did. So why waste all that worry?''