Instead of facing the stress of unexpected financial situations, let’s plan ahead for them.
For everyone, life happens no matter the age, year, or season. The different stages of life, such as starting a career or facing retirement, demand different financial needs. By making yourself aware of these demands, you would be able to stand confident amongst each life stage.
Entering the Workforce.
No matter your age, there will always be an opportunity that pulls you into the workforce world. Either you’re starting your first job ever, or you’re at the beginning stages of your career.
The first steps towards financial literacy start in this stage of life. You can begin by forming a budget representing your income and expenses to help you live within your means. What are your most important expenses? Where can you pull back to place more income into a savings? Start to work on an emergency fund with your leftover income so you’re prepared for financial surprises, such as new vehicle tires. These surprises can be extremely “stressy and depressy” if you don’t have the funds readily available.
Make it your priority to begin paying off debt, such as student loans. You don’t want to be swimming in debt during the future stages of your life, so why not start fixing that now?
Start building a good credit score. Credit scores are needed for most renting situations, car purchases, real estate purchases, etc. As long as you avoid debt with using a credit card, you will be at a good starting point with growing your credit.
Take advantage of 401(k), 403(b), and Roth IRA’s with your employer. It’s never too early to start planning for retirement, and this is a great spot to start.
Are you single? Having a disability insurance policy is crucial for protecting your income. If you find yourself sick for a long period or injured, you don’t have that second income to lean on. Connect with a financial advisor to find the best policy for you.
The Family-building and Career-advancing Years.
Are you settling down, building a family, or advancing in your career? This life stage occurs
between your first steps in the workforce and your pre-retirement years.
Buying a house is an important major asset that could cause heavy financial stress if you’re not prepared for the burdens. You need to secure your budget for maintenance, amortization, utilities, and other expenses that come with a house. Don’t forget about the other expenses related to everyday life and raising a family. A sturdy emergency fund can really come in handy for those unexpected home repairs and family emergencies.
A few financial goals that should be on your to-do list include buying life insurance, health insurance and disability insurance, reviewing your estate plan and preparing a will, begin saving for children’s college, and growing your savings. Use this time to start that business you’ve been thinking about, too.
Don’t forget about your retirement savings! Keeping up with these contributions will prepare you for a stable retirement. Take advantage of your employer’s 401(k) match. Own your own business already? You can contribute to a Roth IRA to keep up with those retirement savings.
Are you in a serious relationship or marriage? Be sure to talk about finances as a team and have open communication between one another. Update your beneficiaries and file your taxes together.
Are you switching careers or jobs? Make sure you transfer your retirement accounts and update your insurance policies.
Are you expecting a baby? Congratulations! It’s important to update your budget to include the
expenses of raising a baby. Understand the everyday costs, as well as the unexpected costs of being a mother. Be sure to update your insurance policies to include your child and create an estate plan.
Are you facing a divorce or loss of a spouse? The most important task here is to update your financial accounts. Make a new financial plan that includes your personal finances.
Maybe you’re caring for elderly parents during this time. Help yourself prepare financially by understanding the costs associated with caring for your elderly parents. Don’t forget to update your tax status to include them as dependents.
The Pre-retirement Years.
Starting to face the possibility of retirement in the next few years? It’s important to have a very clear understanding of your retirement savings and what your retirement expenses will be before retiring. Will you be safe living off your retirement savings, or do you think working in your retirement is a possibility/necessity?
You should be at a good place with paying off debt to avoid that specific financial burden during retirement.
Now is a great time to reach out to your financial advisor to ask for guidance and ensure that you are on the right track for retiring.
The Retirement Years
You’ve made it to retirement! It is crucial for you to stick to a strict financial plan during this time. The objective is to ensure that your savings last.
Turn your retirement and pension savings into income. With the help of your financial advisor, you can learn the best strategies to go through this process as well as how to reduce tax friction.
Optimizing your taxes is key. Do you think it can help you further if you get rid of some of your assets by selling them instead of making large withdrawals from your retirement accounts that might be subject to tax? Remember that tax brackets matter. Larger withdrawals can take you to a high tax bracket.
Don’t forget the importance of your estate plan. Make is your goal to update and evaluate your plan consistently.
Investment advisory services are offered through Trek Financial, LLC., an SEC Registered Investment Adviser. Information presented is for educational purposes only. It should not be considered specific investment advice, does not take into consideration your specific situation, and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any securities or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and are not guaranteed. Be sure to consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein.
- Align-wealth.com, November, 2019. https://align-wealth.com/blog/financial-planning-5-stages-life.
- Clevergirlfinance.com, July, 2021. https://www.clevergirlfinance.com/blog/financial-planning-for-women/.