Investment Planning for all ages

Knowing where to start when it comes to planning for your future can be overwhelming. There are so many milestones to consider, college, buying a home, starting a family, retirement, etc. Just because these milestones may not be in the near future, doesn’t mean you should wait to start planning. In fact, the earlier the better. How old are you? Do you know where you should be allocating your finances? Take a look to see what you should be prioritizing and when. 

Saving for retirement is most important when you’re young. The earlier you start saving the more time you give your money to grow. You may not be able to put a big portion of your income aside, but even a small amount can grow to something much larger. This is a good time to look into getting a financial advisor to learn more about getting the most out of your money.

Creating a budget is important at all ages. You want to make a budget that is not only effective, but also realistic. Having a budget can help create peace of mind, especially when working towards goals like owning a home or having children.

Establish good credit by using credit cards responsibly. It is important to build up a good credit score during this stage of your life so you can pursue milestones down the road. However, it is imperative to not spend more than you can afford. Be sure to pay your bills on time and avoid owning an excessive amount of credit cards.

Planning for a home is a huge milestone and expense that many people will experience in their life. Saving for a down payment is not an easy feat, so the earlier you start saving the better. Ideally, you would want to put down 20% or more of the price of the home. This is important to factor in when creating your budget. Minimizing the debt you carry will play a vital role in the ability to purchase your home.

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Continue to evaluate your retirement. Assessing your retirement is something you will need to do at every stage of your life. As you complete milestones and your income grows, you should be consistently reviewing the amount you contribute to retirement accounts. At this point it is a good idea to be meeting with your financial advisor to discuss your investment portfolio and evaluate your risk exposure.

Budgeting is definitely not something you want to set and forget. As your expenses and income change, your budget needs to as well. Just because your income increases doesn’t mean you want your spending to increase at the same rate. Tracking your spending is crucial to planning out your future and attaining your goals.

529 Plans are a great idea if you are in this phase of your life and have children or are planning on having children in the near future. These plans offer a great opportunity to save for your child’s education, while also providing great tax incentives. A great aspect of these plans is that if your child decides they do not want to attend college, You can use these funds for a trade school or transfer them to another eligible family member. There is also no age limit to use the funds.

Developing an estate plan is important to consider at this point. Do you have a plan for your property and assets? Planning for your estate ahead of time will make for fewer decisions during an already stressful time. You want to make sure you have beneficiaries in place and that they are aware of the plan as well.

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Maxing out your retirement contributions is a great strategy to implement as you enter the peak of your career. People usually reach this point, in their late forties to late fifties. In 2024, the contribution limit for a 401(k), 403(b), and most 457 plans is $23,000. The annual contribution limit to an IRA is $7,000. However, a great benefit of being in your fifties is that the IRS allows you to make catch-up contributions. For your 401(k), you can contribute an additional $7,500. For your IRA you are allowed to contribute an extra $1,000. Additionally, this is when you should be figuring out where and how you want to live after your retirement.

Think about your long-term health care. You may have opted-out of long term care insurance in the past, but as you get older it is important to consider. Especially since the older you are, the higher the premiums and the higher chance of getting denied. About 7 in 10 people will need care at some point in their life and this care can come with substantial costs. Long-term care covers several services such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or medical assistance for daily living activities.

Review your estate plan. As with any financial plans, you are going to want to keep reviewing your estate plan. Have there been any changes with your beneficiaries? Are you happy with your plan?

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Continue to take advantage of the catch-up contributions. Maxing out your retirement contributions is also great objective in your sixties. If possible, keep taking advantage of the catch-up contributions benefit for people over 50.

Continue to review your estate plan.

Make sure you have a suitable long-term care plan in place. At this point you should have a plan in place for your long-term care. It is also a good idea to discuss your plan with your family.

Enjoy your retirement! If you have been able to follow these steps throughout your life, you should now be able to enjoy your retirement with peace of mind. However, be sure to continue reviewing all of your plans and speaking with your advisor to go over your investments.

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