Personal Finance Milestones to Reach by 40

As your age starts creeping up towards mid-life, it’s time to take your financial planning seriously. Here’s our top 5 milestones to reach by 40 to keep you on track for a comfortable retirement.

 

  1. Retirement Savings

A good rule that financial advisors use is that by the time you reach 40, you should have three times your salary saved in retirement accounts like 401k, IRA or other retirement-specific accounts.

 

If you are not there yet, or just getting your life back on track after financial set-backs, don’t worry. You’re still about 20 years from retirement so there’s time to get to where you want to be. If you are self-employed or a contract worker, be sure that you are setting aside at least 10% of your take-home pay. If you are in your mid-late thirties and still paying off debts, put your energy and money into paying off those debts off quickly, then once that’s paid off, put the same amount of those payments into a high yield retirement account in addition to that 10%. You’ll see your retirement savings skyrocket as you pay yourself.

  1. Credit Scores

In your mid-thirties you should set your sights on improving your credit score a great deal. Aim for a 760 or better and research long-term solutions to keep increasing your score.

  1. Emergency Funds

Having a cushy emergency fund can be a life saver when life throws you curve balls. Whether that’s an unexpected medical emergency or a layoff due to a bad economy, having enough in savings to keep you afloat for at least 6 months should be the goal. Use direct deposit to start sending $50-$100 per paycheck directly into a savings account that’s harder for you to access, like a credit union that’s on the other side of town so you’ll be less likely to dip into it.

  1. Life Insurance

If you’ve got kids or a spouse, it’s especially important to have life insurance, as the people who depend on you can be greatly impacted by your passing. It’s not pleasant to think about, but it’s reality. Without life insurance benefits, your loved ones could be on the hook for your funerary arrangements, debts and more. Life insurance policies can cost as little as $15/ month for a 20-year term life insurance plan for $200,000. It’ll give you and your loved ones some peace of mind. If you have a partner, make sure they sign up for one too!

  1. College Planning

If you’ve got little ones, or are planning for them in the next few year, start saving now. College expenses are exorbitant in some countries and by setting aside money starting now, you’ll be setting your kids up to have option in education. Regardless of it they choose the traditional education routes or opt for a trade education, having that money set aside will give them extra edge in life by reducing or eliminating the need for loans.

6 Money Milestones To Reach By 30

As your 20s begin to fade and 30 draws closer, you may find yourself beginning to to worry about getting your finances in order and taking your parents advice to heart about sorting yourself out. These are our top picks for financial planning for your 30s.

Boost Your Credit Score

If your credit score isn’t in the 700s, it’s time to start focusing on boosting that number. A higher credit score will make lenders much more inclined to get you into your first home when you are ready or get that new(er) car.

Banish Debt

Pay off your credit card debt as soon as possible. This will help boost your credit score, but it will also free up your money to save, invest and play. Paying debt off quickly also saves you money on interest.

Student Loans

Unless you want to be paying your student loans off at 40, refinancing and paying off your student loans early can free up thousands of dollars that would otherwise go towards interest. Just make sure to check your loans for early payoff penalties.

Retirement

Unless you are independently wealthy, retirement is decades away. Start saving for it now by taking advantage of your employers 401k plan. Opt for the highest percentage matching and then double your contributions. You’re paying your future self with your 401k, so set yourself up to live comfortably.

Emergency Fund

In the current economic climes, so many people are living paycheck-to-paycheck and are one emergency away from financial ruin. Protect yourself by starting and consistently feeding your emergency fund. The ideal is to have 6 months of expenses tucked away in the event of an injury or unemployment. This gives you peace of mind that should the worst happen, you have some time to get your ducks in a row.

Life Insurance

No one wants to think about death. But by obtaining a life insurance policy, you’ll be protecting your loved ones. Establishing a life insurance policy in your twenties, when you’re young and healthy is cheaper and easier than when health issues begin to creep in later in life.