Every year, we all need to check up on our physical fitness progress. Were you looking to hit those “mad gainz,” improve your 5K (or marathon!) time, or simply to drop a few pounds? In any case, performing this status check can help us stay on course for our fitness goals.
But – we also need to check up on ourselves financially! Your meditation and gym time isn’t the only important part of self care. In fact, not taking care of our finances can cause us plenty of physical and mental stress.
Depending on your age, the most important financial items to check on your list may be different. How many years do you have until retirement? How much should I have saved so far? …and so on. I’ve put together a guide to help you get started on reviewing your financial self care progress!
Financial Self Care Progress Check: Age 25
- Have a fully funded emergency fund. Somewhere between 3 to 6 months of expenses in savings is a great end goal. If you have some sort of crazy emergency, you’ll have a place to get the cash rather than increasing debt by using a credit card.
- Begin your retirement savings, if you haven’t already. You should be able to participate in your employer’s retirement plan, otherwise you can start an IRA of your own through your local bank or brokerage firm. Also consider a ROTH IRA if you’re in a lower income tax bracket or you have lots of years until retirement. Remember this post when you’re surprised how much you were able to put away, with tax benefits to boot.
Financial Self Care Progress Check: Age 30
- Eliminate your student loan debt. Assuming you’re on a 10-year payoff schedule, you may have most of this paid off already. Make this a priority after your emergency fund but before your retirement savings.
- Begin estate planning and get life insurance. This applies especially if you have a young family. Ensuring all of this is in order can protect your family in the event something unexpected occurs and is great for peace of mind.
Financial Self Care Progress Check: Age 40
- Eliminate all non-mortgage debt. Knock out that car loan and credit card debt and other consumer debt by this age.
- Plan for your kids’ college – consider opening a 529 savings plan for your kids. That will allow you to get some savings set aside for their schooling. Friends and family can give gifts of $$ that you can add to their college savings through the years.
- Have 3x your annual salary saved in retirement. This will keep you on track for your retirement savings goals of retirement.
Financial Self Care Progress Check: Age 50
- Max out your retirement options. Your financial advisor can work with you to make sure you are taking advantage of all the retirement savings options available. You may be able to leverage higher “catch-up” contributions limits, which begin at age 50.
- Pay extra on your mortgage if you can. Put any extra dollars you have toward paying off your mortgage. Not having that huge monthly bill can make or break some retirement goals.
- Brush up on Social Security, Medicare, and Employer Retirement benefits. Schedule your annual check-up with your financial advisor at the same time each year, just like you do your physical, to make any necessary changes to ensure your retirement is on track.
Financial Self Care Progress Check: Age 60
This is the final stretch to retirement! Take these years to fine tune your retirement goals. You and your financial advisor will want to review any additional steps needed to take to reach your goals, including but not limited to the ones I’ve outlined!
- Confirm your will and life insurance. Look your documents over and make sure it reflects your wishes and make any necessary changes.
- Consider acquiring Long-Term Care Insurance. Long-term care insurance for yourself – and your spouse, if you’re married – can be invaluable in the event that you need it. You want to have it in place before it becomes necessary, of course!
Regardless of where you are on the continuum, don’t be discouraged if you have missed some of the mile markers. Focus on your goals and be intentional with your actions, based on what you want this coming year to look like. Now you are aware of these checkpoints and you can set yourself up to be on track to meet your retirement goals!
Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. No strategy assures success or protects against loss. Investing involves risk including loss of principal.