Our fascination with money can start early in life – usually in the cereal aisle or the toy store. Of course, you’ve come a long way since the days you pined for Malibu Barbie – your financial needs have changed and they’ll continue to evolve as you get older.
Here are a few of the big things you need to keep in mind at every age and stage of life.
20s – Save it
More than any other time in your life, this is when putting aside money for the future really counts. Thank the magic of compound interest for this.
There are a couple of things you can do to put aside as much as possible during these early years of earning.
1. Pay yourself first – set up an automatic withdrawal to take a portion of your pay from your bank account every month. You can put it in your RRSP or another interest earning account before you spend it.
2. Make a budget and stick to it. There’s so much fun stuff to spend your money on and although you may have a good job and no dependents, resist the temptation to rack up debt. It’s a great habit that will serve you well for your whole life.
30s – Pay it off
Your 30s are great years – you know what you want, you might be thinking of purchasing your own home, and your job is hopefully a bit more secure. This is the time to pay off debt – lingering student loans, a mortgage if you have one, and any credit card or line of credit debt that’s been lurking in the shadows. This is also a great time to surround yourself with experts you trust – a good and trustworthy financial advisor and an accountant can help put you in the best financial shape possible.
40s – Plan for it
With retirement and, possibly, your kids’ education looming, you are focused on the future. Now that you’re in your peek earning years it’s time to make a plan. Think about how much you will need in retirement and make sure you are prepared to put aside enough money every month so that you’re not left in the lurch come age 65. It’s also time to get real with the kids – how much can you realistically set aside to help them financially when they go to college? And how much can they contribute through summer jobs, grants and loans?
50s – Check it
You’re getting ready to retire (or not). Whatever your plans are, it’s time to revisit your investment plan. Think about reducing some of your exposure to riskier stocks – if you’re planning to draw down on your retirement account soon, you want to make sure the money is in a safe place just in case we hit another major market dip. It’s also time to make sure you’re properly insured – if you have dependents, what kind of insurance do you need to make sure they are provided for if something happens to you.