Financial Advice for Different Generations
Depending on where you are in life will make a significant difference in how you plan for the future. So, let's look at some basic ideas based on each generation.
Generation Z (teens to early 20s)
Today's GenZ is used to instant gratification, which is not good for long-term financial health. This generation needs to know that financial success takes and patience and some knowledge. A couple of pieces of advice for GenZers:
Always Live within Your Ability
Your early paychecks provide an opportunity for you to learn valuable financial lessons, such as creating a monthly budget and spending less than you make.
Build a Saving Habit
One of the few things that early generations do is to start saving. This is why so many older adults find themselves barely getting by when retired, and they did not save when younger. Make your savings automatic by always setting aside part of your earnings into a savings or, even better, an investment account.
Understand Your Credit
A good credit history helps you save hundreds of thousands of dollars over a lifetime if you maintain good credit scores. Learn how to affect your credit positively and maintain it. Regularly checking your credit scores is a must.
Generation Y (20s and early 30s)
Now you are working in a regular job and may have college loans, get married, have a child or two, etc. A couple of thoughts for GenYers:
Risk Management is for Everyone!
As fast as possible, set aside 6 months earnings to cover your normal living expenses. Everyone has emergencies and unexpected job losses. Make sure you have insurance, including health and property coverage (even if renting). Also, consider disability insurance, which helps pay bills during any health crisis like COVID.
If you have not started before, start saving now. Many companies and the government provide retirement savings plans, and they often have some sort of match = free money! You can build your retirement very fast using matching contributions. There is rarely an investment that grows as fast as a matching 401k plan or the like. If there is no plan, then open your own IRA and start adding to it.
Save for Your Children's Education
If you have or will have children, you can expect that it may take as much as $200k for a 4-year college. Give your children a great education by saving now. Education is the great equalizer and is proven to have much higher average lifetime earnings.
Generation X (30s and 40s)
So now life is hitting you from all sides, so consider these actions:
You should not risk your future to pay for the entire educational cost of your children. You cannot get financial, student loans, etc., as a retiree. You are on your own except for any pension, social security, or retirement plan you have.
Never Neglect Your Health
Most people think of medical issues arising at a later age. But GenX is when some people start to see the effects of their lifestyle to this point in their life. Poor diet, lack of exercise, etc., often lead to health issues that start to show in this age group.
Create a Will
It is likely you have not accumulated much wealth or assets at this point, but you should create your first will now and update it as needed.
Baby Boomers (50s and 60s)
When you get to this age group, you are staring retirement in the face. A few pointers for you:
Shift Your Savings into Top Gear
You are short on time so strive for the maximum savings into your 401(k)s and IRAs or any other retirement plans you have.
Meet with Financial Professionals Regularly
Your financial planner has all the tools to examine where you are at and what you must save to live the lifestyle of your choice. You should be meeting with them at least twice a year.
Research Long Term Care Insurance
You are now at an age where serious illness is a real possibility, and long-term care insurance can be a lifesaver and protect your assets. The older you get, the more expensive these policies are.
Well, you made it to the point you are no longer working at a regular job, if at all. Consider the following:
Stick to the Basics
Having a solid budget that you update and review regularly is one of the basics that 80% of people do not follow, even when retired. It is more critical now than ever as you may be on a fixed income! Most people do not know where they spend their money and do not put in the minimal effort to manage their budget.
Manage Your Income & Investments
Very few people have the knowledge and skills, much less the time, to personally manage their income and investments. You should already have financial professionals (CFP meaning certified financial planner) and a CPA that help you select the right investments using a proven strategy depending on your age, income, and other factors. Often a good CPA can refer you to a CFP that they work with, ensuring your “team” is working together for you and your family's future.
Create an Estate Plan
An estate plan can help you ensure that your wishes for any accumulated assets are distributed or given in the way you prefer. There are also positive financial implications, although they vary from state to state depending on state law and regulations. Check with a CPA and estate planning attorney for any questions to establish your peace of mind.
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