Understanding your changing financial options through the years is an essential step toward security and growth.
Your twenties are key years for establishing good personal finance habits that will help you through the rest of your life. Consider Alex, a recent university graduate who has just started her first job. She wants financial independence and, eventually, home ownership.
Alex can start by creating a careful and realistic budget. This information:
- will help her take a step back and assess her finances, so she can better allocate the money she is making, rather than live paycheck-to-paycheck.
- will enable her to start paying off her high-interest credit card debt, and begin to chip away at her student debt.
- will help her start saving whatever she can. Ideally Alex is hoping to save up at least six months of living expenses as an emergency fund. She begins by open a tax-free savings account to save money tax-free.
And while retirement may seem like a long way away, she can also start contributing whatever small amount she can afford to an RRSP—it will have 40 years to mature.
By the time Alex is in her thirties, she has gotten married to a man who shares her financial goals. She and her husband are committed to sticking to the habits they formed in their twenties, especially now that they’re hoping to have kids.
As Alex has grown, her income and budget have adjusted. She has paid off her credit card and is nearly finished paying off her student loans.
Her good foundation of savings means they have enough for a down payment on a house. To find the right mortgage for them, Alex and her husband are committed to doing their research. They will find a house that fits their budget, and a mortgage lender that suits their needs. This is one of the most important financial decisions they will make, and there is a lot to consider. For more information, go to SafeBridge’s First-Time Homebuyer’s Guide.
Once they have kids, they will also begin putting money in a registered education savings plan (RESP), to prepare for their kids’ future. Having a family is also an important time to start estate planning, including making a will and considering life insurance.
It’s also not too soon to maximize their retirement savings, evaluate their insurance needs, and consider other investments.
40s and 50s
When Alex and her husband reach their forties and fifties, they should be reviewing the strong financial foundation they made in their twenties and thirties.
While Alex is no longer on the tight budget of her twenties, making prudent financial decisions and avoiding life style inflation remains just as important. She can now afford to make large purchases and travel but that does not mean she always should.
In evaluating her finances at this stage, it’s important to continue maximizing retirement savings, re-evaluate insurance needs, and re-balance their portfolios to make sure they’re diversified and to income-split. If possible, she and her husband should aim to pay off their mortgage.
As their finances and estate are more complicated than ever before, she will consider looking into a financial planner for specific, relevant advice.
By the time Alex is ready to retire at sixty-five, her prudent financial decisions as she moved up have paid off. Saving early and planning efficiently have allowed her and her husband to enjoy a stress-free retirement.
To find out how SafeBridge can help you as move up, contact us today.