Whether you’re just starting to invest, already retired or somewhere in between, here are some things to think about at each stage of your financial life.
Create a budget. Add up how much you earn each month from jobs or other income sources and compare it to your expenses (rent, utilities, car payment and student loans, for example). Are you coming out ahead? Are there opportunities to reduce, or even eliminate, any expenses? This could include switching to a credit card with a lower interest rate.
Contribute to a retirement plan. If your employer offers a retirement plan, invest at least enough to take advantage of a company match, if offered. If you don’t have that option at work, open your own individual retirement account (IRA).
Get debt under control. If you have student loans or credit card debt, pay down your balances by starting with the highest-interest debt first, followed by the second highest and so on.
Map out your financial strategy. To reach any goal, you need a documented strategy. Your financial advisor will learn what’s important to you so he or she can help you determine the best way to achieve your goals.
Consider how marriage might impact your finances. Before you say, “I do,” ensure you and your fiancé are on the same page when it comes to money decisions. Will you combine assets or keep them separate? How will you decide to make major purchases?
Save for education. If you have children and want to help them pay for college, now is the time to start saving. You may want to consider a 529 education savings plan to help with this goal.
Protect your loved ones. As you get married, have children and buy a house, you may want to consider how you’ll protect your family and your financial strategy if the unexpected happens. Life insurance could help with this goal.
Maximize your retirement savings. Retirement may still be a long way away, but you’re likely earning more and may have fewer debts. If you receive yearly salary increases, put that extra amount into your 401(k) or IRA. If you haven’t already started saving for retirement, now is the time to begin.
Re-evaluate your goals. Are you still saving for a child’s education expenses? Are your own student loans finally paid off? Any big financial milestone you reach provides an opportunity to think about what’s next and if you should adjust your strategy.
Catch up on retirement contributions. If you’re 50 or older, you can take advantage of higher contribution limits to your 401(k), IRA and many other retirement plans.
Plan for long-term care expenses. Medicare and Medicare-approved insurance plans may not cover all the health care expenses you’ll face in retirement. It may be time to think about additional insurance, including long-term care insurance or life insurance with a long-term care/chronic illness rider.
Create or review your estate plan. If you haven’t already named beneficiaries, now is the time to do so. You also may want to check into permanent life insurance as a way to leave an inheritance to your loved ones or charity.
Make your money last. Consider strategies to prepare your portfolio to weather market declines, unexpected healthcare emergencies, inflation and living longer than you expected. There are many options to handle these, and your financial advisor can help recommend solutions unique to your situation.
Regularly check in on your strategies. Reviewing your strategy with your financial advisor at any life stage can help you figure out if you’re on track to reach your goals or if you need to adjust your strategy.
Edward Jones is a licensed insurance producer in all states and Washington, D.C., through Edward D. Jones & Co., L.P., and in California, New Mexico, and Massachusetts through Edward Jones Insurance Agency of California, L.L.C.; Edward Jones Insurance Agency of New Mexico, L.L.C.; and Edward Jones Insurance Agency of Massachusetts, L.L.C.
Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors are not estate planners and cannot provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your estate-planning attorney or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation.