Slicing and Dicing by Decade – What Are Your Critical Financial Concerns?
What’s your biggest worry? Having enough money to live on? Whether you’re saving enough for retirement? Outliving your money? Leaving a legacy?
For nearly 50 years, the pension and wealth management advisors at Linscomb & Williams have helped clients create financial plans that work for them; plans that address their concerns, allow them to reach their goals, and guide them through life and the financial challenges they face along the way. Whether you’re in your 20s or 80s, or somewhere in between, we’re here to help.
In our experience at Linscomb & Williams, we often hear people voice the same concerns. Because you likely have the same worries, we’ve compiled this list of the most common financial concerns we hear from people at each decade in life, as well as key strategies to overcome them. If your questions are not addressed below, contact us. A quick conversation can go a long way.
Your 20s: Having Enough Money to Live On
Your 20s is generally when you get your first taste of adulthood living on your own. At this stage, many young people are moving into their first apartments, paying down student loans (if applicable), and working to fully support themselves for the first time.
During this decade, it’s important to begin building financial discipline and developing the necessary financial muscles to pay bills on time, make a simple budget, and live within one’s means. Laying down the basic groundwork for financial fitness is extremely important as your career, income, and overall financial life begin to ramp up.
Key to Success in Your 20s: Start Early
Make a budget. Write down your essential monthly expenses and see how much you have left each month. If you can afford it, start setting aside a small portion of money into a savings account or company retirement account. Aim to save 10 percent of your income, if possible.
Starting early on saving pays enormous long-term rewards. Though hard to believe, a young adult making a $6,000 IRA contribution for only 8 years during ages 22-30 (and never contributes again) is likely to have more money at age 65 than a friend who waits until age 30 to start contributing and adds $6,000 annually until age 65. The early-starter invested only 23 cents on the dollar compared to the 30-something, but ends up winning the retirement derby.1
Now that you’ve finally obtained your own spending money, do your best to look for deals and establish smart money moves. Avoid unnecessary use of your credit cards and establish a healthy emergency fund. This simple combination will help build your savings and credit score, and can make a world of difference in your financial life in only a few years.
Your 30s: Job Change
The next decade of your adulthood introduces a number of interesting financial possibilities. In your 30s, you’ve likely experienced an increase in your income – and quality of life. Now you can start working to obtain your next major life milestones.
With around 10 years of work experience, you may be eyeing a new job, looking to start a family, or potentially buying your first house. The average employee tenure is about four years, so it’s natural if you’re inclined to make a change. If you haven’t already had a second job by your 30s, you’re likely seeking higher pay around this time in your life.
Keys to Success in Your 30s: Crystalize Your Savings and Invest in Alignment with Your Goals
As your income increases, your savings and investments should absolutely be a priority going forward.
If you’re looking to start a family, talk to your partner and make a plan beforehand. Discuss your monthly budget, and crunch the numbers to make sure your financial needs are met.
If you decide to find a new job or stay in your current one, take savings to the next level. This means saving in both a personal savings account and a retirement account. Sign up for your company’s 401(k) or open your own IRA and start making consistent investments for the future. If you are unsure about how to prioritize between retirement savings and after-tax savings, follow this rule of thumb: Prioritize retirement savings at least to the point of maximizing any available employer matching contribution (it's "free money," right?)
This decade in life is also a good time to start working with a financial advisor. If you’re not sure you really need a financial advisor’s help, read our complimentary eBook: Should You Hire a Financial Advisor or Do It Yourself?
Your 40s: Not Saving Enough
Your fourth decade in life typically introduces both higher income and higher expenses. At this point, you may be nearing your earnings peak, but you may have a number of fixed expenses, like a mortgage and family needs. Saving consistently may become difficult at this time.
Key to Success in Your 40s: Trim the Fat through Cleanup and Strategic Investing
Without extra income, you’ll need to tweak how your accounts are configured to save more. Tax-wise, be sure that you are aware of the tax effects from your retirement accounts. For example, if you are in a high tax bracket and looking to save each year, maximizing your pre-tax contributions in your 401(k) can potentially lower your tax expense while contributing to your retirement. Discuss your situation with your financial advisor and find ways to make your savings and investment mechanisms more efficient.
Your 50s: Paying Off Debt/Mortgage
A mortgage is often a major item on your balance sheet. One of the biggest determinants of nationwide mortgage debt is the gap between housing costs and income increases. Since 2015, mortgage debt has inched up 7 percent, while household income has increased roughly 3 percent.
Key to Success in Your 50s: Make Debt Payoff and Your Mortgage a High-Priority
Paying off your mortgage takes time. If you can take bad debts (think high-interest credit cards, etc.) out of your financial equation, you’ll have more dollars to put toward paying down your mortgage. Retirement is getting closer, and reducing or paying off your mortgage and other debt obligations will make your 60s much more comfortable, and expand your retirement flexibility.
Your 60s: Outliving Retirement Income
While more and more people are working longer, either because they want to or because they have to, most people experience some form of retirement in their 60s. When the time does come, will you be financially prepared? All of your habits during the previous decades have led to this point, but there are still some key actions you can take to preserve your savings. No one wants to outlive their money.
Keys to Success in Your 60s: Delay Your Lifetime Income and Lean on Your Advisor
It’s hard to know if your nest egg is enough, especially on your own. During your 60s, it’s important to routinely dedicate time to meet with your financial advisor to keep your retirement plan on track. All of the hard work you’ve put forth working, saving and making good financial decisions can be squandered if you don’t invest prudently or live off of your income properly.
You’re eligible to start receiving Social Security payments in your 60s, and the longer you wait, the bigger your benefits will be. While Social Security isn’t typically enough to live off of in retirement, these payments can be an enormous help. At Linscomb & Williams, we encourage clients to meet with our pension and wealth management advisors to make a plan for their final years of work. Make sure your investments, savings, withdrawal plan, and financial needs are aligned, and give your retirement a test drive. The order of drawing down your various asset buckets can impact your success in retirement. A test drive will help evaluate these trade-offs.
Your 70s: Healthcare
Healthcare is one of the biggest expenses in retirement. On average, retirees spend about $13,000 a year on healthcare costs, and that number is expected to nearly double by 2030. Saving money on healthcare will be a major leg up during retirement.
Keys to Success in Your 70s: Prepare Early and Review Your Options Thoroughly
The safest way to prepare for a major financial expense is to save and plan early. Talk with a fiduciary financial advisor about your different coverage options. Review all of your available Medicare options before you turn 65. This could influence your decision on the timing of a retirement decision. If you’re married, see what spousal benefits you and your spouse have available to you. Planning to cover your healthcare is extremely important to your quality of life in retirement. As you age, it’s important to be both physically and financially healthy. Planning ahead can help you achieve both.
Your 80s and Beyond: Leaving a Legacy/Estate Planning
Saving, investing and making prudent financial decisions isn’t always easy. The good news is that you can lock in all of your efforts through proper estate planning to protect your loved ones and future generations. By leaving a legacy protected with a well-crafted estate plan, you can ensure that your wealth will be properly used and not wasted.
Key to Success in Your 80s: Immortalize Your Wealth with an Iron-Clad Estate
Estate planning can be an emotionally challenging topic, as it requires you to plan for your own passing. But planning your legacy enables you to see that your assets and wealth live on and are properly stewarded. Through trust accounts, beneficiary arrangements, and pre-written estate documents, you can see to it that your family, beneficiaries, and descendants will have guardrails with their inheritances. An estate plan can help your family cover any death-related expenses and then some.
Planning your legacy will give you the opportunity to help your future generations live comfortably, and see to it that the fruits of your labor live on as well.
How We Can Help
Wherever you are in life, the pension and wealth management advisors at Linscomb & Williams are here to help. Schedule a no-obligation conversation with our team and get the conversation started.
1Assumes 9% average return compounded in IRA. An adult in their 20s funds IRA 8 years at $6,000 and stops for total contributions of $48,000. An adult in their 30s funds IRA beginning after turning age 30 at $6,000 per year for 35 years (total of $210,000). At end of year turning 65, the 20-something has $1,472,382. The 30-something has $1,410,748.