Money matters change as we grow. When you are a teenager, you may be worried about saving for college, buying a car or hanging out with your friends. By age 50, you are likely wondering whether you saved enough for retirement and if you have saved enough money to help your children with college. Tackling money situations as early as possible will help you create good habits and allow you to avoid the pitfalls of debt and no retirement. Low Income Financial Help has provided a list of a few things you need to think about (and maybe a few things you should talk to your kids about too).
In your 20s:
Instead of spending your entire paycheck hanging out with friends, here are a few ways you can plan for your future:
- Invest in a retirement plan. Most companies offer some type of retirement program; take advantage of this by designating some of your paycheck towards this. The earlier you start the less money you have to set aside each check to earn more money.
- Say no to credit cards. Pay for things you need with cash and skip the credit cards. It is too easy to buy things you do not really need and have to spend your paychecks paying off debt.
- Save some money: If you plan to buy a house, you will get much better interest rates (read lower monthly payments and lower overall cost) if you have a down payment. Start saving in your 20s and you could easily have a sizable down payment by the time you are 30.
In your 30s and 40s:
- Consider purchasing a home: A house can be a great investment, albeit an expensive one. Save up as much cash for a down payment as possible to reduce your cost and monthly payments. Additionally, only buy a home you can afford and pay it off as quickly as possible.
- Invest in the mutual funds: You should have a relatively healthy retirement plan building. Set aside some extra money to invest in mutual funds. This is a great way to build wealth with lower risks. The money is distributed to a variety of investments increasing your odds of better returns.
- Purchase life insurance: Ideally, you should purchase life insurance when you get married or have children. This provides financial support to provide for your family if you should die early. Consider term insurance because it is cheaper. If you have a retirement fund and invest wisely, you will not need the investment options whole life policies purport to offer.
- Before retirement try to pay off any debt (including home and cars) this will reduce the strain on your retirement income and allow you to enjoy your golden years without financial worries.
- Set up a trust. If you have not done so already, now is a good time to get your affairs in order. Your estate should include a will, power of attorney and instructions regarding the dispersion of financial assets following your death.
- Live within your means: If you have saved well, you should have enough money to live comfortably. Remember that medical expenses and other bills can quickly drain your savings, so enjoy your retirement but have an emergency savings on hand to cover unforeseen bills and expenses.