Life is full of major milestones to look forward to, such as starting a family or buying a first home. Planning for these important life events does not happen overnight, rather it requires advanced preparation. By organizing and maintaining a budget fit to your lifestyle, you can be ready to handle these big moments. Here are some of our recommendations for budget allocation, unique to each age group.
IN YOUR 20S
You may not have your sights set on buying on home just yet, as renting is an affordable and convenient living option for those who have just completed school. However, it is never too early to get in the habit of budgeting while adjusting it to your new, adult lifestyle.
Having a high credit score not only allows you to qualify for buying a car or a home, but it also can help you save on insurance or cell phone plans. The best way to start? If you haven’t already, open a credit card and pay your balances in full each month. Make sure to pay your utility bills on time, as a late payment can negatively affect your score.
Taking control of your spending early can keep you out of financial stress when bills need to be paid. According to Forbes, a great way to start saving is to follow the 50/20/30 rule when it comes to your paycheck: 50 percent for needs (transportation, housing, food, car payments), 30 percent for wants (clothing, accessories, gym memberships) and the remaining 20 percent saved for emergency use or paying off debts.
IN YOUR 30S
Life in your 30s can look significantly different than it did just a few years ago. If you have children or are expecting children, your budget will see a major shift. You may also be in an advanced place in your career, so reviewing your budget and making the appropriate adjustments is important.
Clear Your Debt
According to NerdWallet, 62.5 percent of Americans with student debt are over 30 years old. As much as we wish we could snap our fingers and make them disappear, these hefty loans accumulate interest, bringing us farther from our efforts to pay them all off. If you still have student loans lingering or credit card debt piling, this is the time to commit to paying it off. Plan to take a specific amount from your paychecks to pay any debt and consider using end-of-year bonuses, birthday money or tax returns to assist with bringing the amount down.
Save for Education
Starting a family is an exciting chapter is one’s life, and parents naturally want to provide the best life they can for their children. Although you may not have kids just yet or they are still young, setting up a college savings plan early is essential. Establish a realistic monthly goal for college savings based on your salary and/or your spouse’s salary and adjust when necessary.
IN YOUR 40s
Many adults are at their peak income during their 40s, making it a critical time to increase savings. Be sure to adjust your budget thoughtfully in preparation for major expenses including college funds, emergencies and retirement.
Focus on Retirement
With a larger income and retirement on the horizon, investing in your future should be a focal point. Even if you expect to work well into your 60s, it is never too early to boost your retirement savings. Businessman Dave Ramsey believes you should use at least 15% of his/her gross income for retirement saving. If your company matches your 401k contributions, Ramsey emphasizes to invest at least up to the match and consider opening and funding an IRA with the remaining 15%.
Grow Your Emergency Fund
If you haven’t started an emergency fund, now is definitely the time to do so. Protecting your home and loved ones is vital, as any major damage or loss can become a hefty expense. This fund can also be used for many other emergency expenses, such as hospital bills or sudden unemployment. A good rule of thumb is to budget for three months of your living costs.
IN YOUR 50s
The busy years of starting a career and a family may be behind you, but don’t lose focus on your exciting future ahead.
Invest in Real Estate and Become a Landlord
Trying to figure out what to do with spare change? Before you have your sights set on spending it all on vacations, consider Dave Ramsey’s recommendation of investing in real estate to use as a rental property. Rentals are always in high demand, so this is typically a safe investment to earn some extra income. Properties by a campus or in another highly desirable area are especially great options to attract interested renters. Visit CENTURY 21 Judge Fite Property Management to learn more about property management or take a building wealth seminar, check out our events.
Pay off Your Mortgage
Time to get rid of those hefty lingering payments and bills. With your children most likely grown and out of the house, you can focus on paying off your mortgage to eventually downsize, if desired. Visit Cardinal Financial, our mortgage partner, to learn more.
IN YOUR 60s
This is an exciting decade, as you are either retired or just around the corner from it! Enjoy this new time for yourself.
If you are wanting to downsize and haven’t done so, now is the time. The extra space is not needed anymore with children out of the house, and you will save immensely by moving to a smaller house. Pick the condo of your dreams and make it yours!
Purchase Long-term Care Insurance
Unfortunately, health problems can sometimes arise so unexpectedly in our lives and can leave us with expensive medical bills we never prepared for. In your 60s, it is smart to get long-term care insurance in the event of a health issue that requires extensive care outside our own abilities. Long-term care insurance covers the costs of assisted living, nursing home care or home health care, so you can have the medical assistance you need without the unexpected steep costs. Learn more from Judge Fite Insurance.
While this list provides general suggestions for smart budgeting, everyone is unique and has their own set of needs and payments to manage. Speaking with a financial advisor or consulting reliable online resources are both great ways to develop a plan that fits your specific lifestyle.
The contents of this blog article does not constitute advice and should not be relied upon in making or refraining from making, any decision.