When it comes to personal finance, there are two rules everyone should follow: start early and save often. The details of when to start, how much to save and how to protect your money change as you grow older. It’s good to know there’s always help available from financial advisors and economic experts like Dave Ramsey, Don Gayhardt of CURO Financial Technologies Corp or Suze Orman.
If you are wondering what money decisions you should make at your age, check out the rundown below. Covered are the best personal finance tips for each decade of your life.
Teenagers may be thought of as young adults, but they are still kids with limited financial experience. It’s up to parents to instill smart personal finance strategies that will benefit them throughout their lives. Focus on teaching the real cost of living, like rent, insurance and utilities. Teach them how to create and stick to a budget, and explain the difference between good debt (a mortgage) and bad debt (credit cards).
Twentysomethings should make sure to establish two money habits beyond creating a smart budget and eliminating bad debt: tracking their credit score and starting a retirement fund. Most people apply for and get their first credit card, personal loan and auto loan in their 20s. Knowing how properly using those tools can affect their credit rating is a must. Parents can still teach a lesson or two by showing their twentysomethings how regular investment in a retirement fund early means lower monthly deposits and more time for compound interest to accrue.
Add a will to your financial toolkit. By your mid- to late-30s, you will have accumulated a number of valuable assets. Make sure those assets are transferred to the people you want should something unexpected happen. This becomes especially important if you have started a family. As you grow your family, make sure to add or update beneficiaries.
Still carrying high-interest consumer debt? Try to knock that out in your 40s. Boost contributions to your retirement investments, as well. Max out your 401k at work and see if you can reach the maximum contributions allowable by law to any mutual funds you might have. Don’t be afraid to carry a few higher risk investments, too. You still have time to make more conservative adjustments.
Retirement planning turns to retirement prepping in your 50s. Take a look at your various investment funds and start consolidating them for easier management. Review your monthly bills and do what you can to lower them. In your late 50s, start living on your expected retirement budget. Anything extra should be invested in your consolidated account.
If you didn’t start living on your retirement income, start now, since you are likely only a few years from the real thing. Purchase long-term care insurance, if you haven’t already, and make sure your life insurance policy is still the right policy for you. You may even want to consider downsizing to a smaller, more manageable home, investing whatever funds you collect from the sale of your previous house.
Conventional wisdom suggests those in their 70s will start using their retirement savings rather than continue investing in them, but many experts suggest otherwise. Many people in their 70s continue to work, if only part-time. Still, financial advisors suggest investing a portion of that income. And if you haven’t eliminated all your debt by now, your entire focus should be on getting rid of all debt as fast as possible.
While the list above covers some of the personal finance decisions you should make for each stage of your life, every individual situation is unique. It is always wise to contact a financial advisor for personalized financial assistance.