Regardless of where you’re at in life, it’s never too early or late to build wealth. There are a lot of money moves you can make throughout your life to create security for your future self. First, you’ll need to learn about personal financial planning. In this guide, we’ll go over some of the best ways to build wealth in every decade of your life.
What is personal financial planning?
Financial planning is simply a plan you create for your finances many years into the future. It safeguards you against life’s surprises, shows your income and expenses, and allows you to plan for retirement and beyond.
When creating your first personal financial plan, you’ll focus on a few top things:
- Your financial goals
- A budget
- A plan for taxes
- Your emergency fund and where it is
- Current debt and a payoff plan
- Any insurance you have (life insurance, disability, etc.)
- Your retirement plans
- Investments beyond your 401k
Of course, you don’t have to focus on every single step at a single time. Below, we break it down so you know what to focus on based on your age.
What is a good financial plan like?
A good financial plan will show a comprehensive picture of your current finances. This includes your financial goals and how you will reach those goals (in detail). Good financial planning should include details about your current budget, income and expenses, savings, debt, investments, and any other financial aspect that’s important to you.
What is the most important part of a financial plan?
The most important part of personal financial planning is…
- your income,
- and investments.
This is because these affect your day-to-day life.
For example, if you aren’t earning enough money, you’re most likely spending too much month to month or getting into more debt. Or, if you’re not tracking your investments in your 40s, you may realize you’re slightly behind in saving for retirement.
By tracking these top four things, you can focus on where you are right now and what you need to do going forward to reach your financial goals.
Personal Financial Planning By Decade
Now that you know what personal financial planning is, let’s talk about the simple steps you should take to get started. These are broken down by age, so don’t worry if you don’t have every single thing on the list done! Just make a plan to catch up and get your plan together.
When you’re in your 20s, you have your whole life in front of you. You have time on your side, so you need to make the most of it. Even if you’re still in school, now is the time to learn how to manage your money.
You can also use this time to learn the best ways to invest money. Since you are in your 20s, you can research the type of investments that you’re most interested in, or even try out more than one.
You may want to research real estate investments that you can make later in life, or you can start out with something simpler. The most important thing is to educate yourself and learn as much as you can before getting started.
You should also start putting money away in an emergency fund. While it’s always better to save more than less, three months’ worth of total monthly expenses is a reasonable goal to have.
Financial Planning In Your 30s
At this point, you should also be saving at least 10-15% of your income for retirement. This should be separate from any investments you make and is also separate from your emergency fund.
If you have a family or are planning on starting one in the future, now is the time to also start paying into a life insurance plan. Be sure to research which type is best for your situation.
If you’ve already been dabbling with investments, you also need to think about how you can keep more of your money. IRAs or high-yielding 401k accounts both offer tax deductions on retirement accounts. In addition, real estate investments have never been more lucrative than they are now.
One of the best forms of investment is real estate shares. Real estate shares are simply stocks that are publicly traded by businesses. Even if you’re a novice, this can be one of the safest forms of investment because of how simple it is to have a self-directed IRA with real estate funds.
Once you hit this milestone, you want to maximize your earning potential. If you haven’t started a retirement account, you need to set that up immediately. Every little bit helps, so don’t think you need to put away hundreds each month to make a difference.
If it’s possible financially, you should also be saving for your children’s college education. You can open a separate savings account specifically for this and still be the custodian over it once they turn 18. If you’ve accumulated considerable wealth, you need to set up an estate plan, too.
Financial Planning In Your 50s
This decade of life looks different for everyone. If you had your children early, then you might be an empty nester now. If you focused on your career and had your children later in life, your children probably still live at home. Either way now’s the time to really buckle down and make the most of your money.
Maximize your IRA contributions, and save as much of your monthly salary as possible. Even if you’re in good health, you need to explore long-term care options for when you’re older. You can also consider whether you’ll sell your home once you retire.
Financial Planning In Your 60s
At this point, you may or may not want to retire. People are living longer than ever before, so it’s important to have financial security no matter what you choose.
Investigate how much you can earn and still receive Social Security. Once you’re over 65, you should consider buying supplemental healthcare, even if you’re eligible for Medicare.
If you’re planning on relocating, create a budget that includes the cost of moving and monthly expenses in the new location. Even with a retirement fund, you need to be able to cover the cost of living without worrying about expenses.
Personal Financial Planning: Get Started Now!
It can seem daunting to start a financial plan, but it’s not as hard as it sounds. And, getting started now, especially if you’re young, can help you in the future.
Plus, by planning ahead, you could also learn more about your money style, which can help you save and invest more!
How are you doing with your financial planning? Are you on track?
AUTHOR Kimberly Studdard
Kim Studdard is a strategy consultant and course launching expert. When she isn’t spending time with her daughter and husband, or crying over This Is Us, you’ll find her teaching other mompreneurs how to scale their business without scaling their workload.