The Lifetime Financial Cheat Sheet

posted 8/1/2013 in General

Ever get the feeling you're falling behind the 8-ball when it comes to your financial life? Have you ever said the following phrase: "Wait, I should've been saving more/investing more/paying off my credit card SOONER"?
Financial planning should be a lifelong process, not something
you start once you're already behind.

Financial matters are a great source of stress for Americans of all ages, so we at Lincoln Savings Bank want to help. We offer you the Lifetime Financial Cheat Sheet! It offers a quick reference for some important financial milestones through various stages of your life.
Your 20s
  • Get a source of income- get a good job and continue to improve your skills
  • Build an emergency fund- it should  be 3-6 months of expenses stashed away in a savings or money market account
  • Make a plan to repay your debt- it doesn't have to be all at once, but shoot for having it paid off before your 30th birthday
  • Start a 401(k) or IRA- yes, you need to start saving for retirement. For example, putting $150 a month into an IRA that earns 8 percent starting at age 25, you'll have over $500,000 by age 65. Waiting until you're 30 will net you over $180,000 less.
Your 30s
  • Increase your 401(k) contributions- by this point hopefully you've worked up the ladder a bit, so you have more money to save
  • Save outside of work, too- maxing out your 401(k) contributions? Nice! Now look into opening an IRA outside of work to save more
  • Invest- don't put all your eggs in one basket; invest wisely by diversifying
  • Be liquid- yes, you need a certain amount of investments, but by now you may have a family and kids. Accidents and emergencies happen, so you need readily available funds
Your 40s
  • Continue to max out savings- make sure your taking maximum advantage of your 401(k) and outside IRA. If you have kids, this is the time you may have to begin thinking about their education or other expenses, so having enough saved up goes a long way
  • Get some advice- talk to a financial planner or trusted investment manager about your investments. It may be wise to reduce the percentage of assets in stocks and put them into bonds
Your 50s
  • Play catch up- catch up contributions for your 401(k) allow you to save $5,500 more once you turn 50; this could be more if you can get a company match too!
  • Consolidate 401(k)s- one manageable IRA is easier to oversee then multiple 401(k)s with varying amounts of money in them
  • Look into long-term care insurance- daily care in a nursing home can burn through retirement savings quickly, so it's better to be prepared
  • Think about Social Security- you can apply for Social Security benefits starting at 62, but your monthly check will be smaller for the rest of your life
  • Reassess retirement costs- we all think we can live on less, but most people badly underestimate health costs and other expenses
The rest of your life- take advantage of being smart with money your whole life!
Everyone's case is different, but these are great general topics to help get you thinking about retirement no matter your age. For help in planning out your financial life, Lincoln Savings Bank's Personal Financial Advisors will help you make sense and take advantage of the things you need.

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