Sixteen personal finance writers put together an outstanding guide of finance material that spans a lifetime in the Money Matters for All Ages series. The entire series is also available to download in a free e-book. Here’s the highlights:
Financial Strategies for Infants and Young Children @ My Dollar Plan
An informative list of all the financial topics to explore with a new baby in the house:
- Open a savings account and 529 plans.
- Get a piggy bank and organize savings bonds.
- Tax savings including the child tax credit, dependent care flexible spending, child tax rates and adjusting your W-4 form.
- Wills, trusts, beneficiaries and life insurance.
- Updating your budget.
Teaching Preschoolers About Money @ Paid Twice
Jaimie is working on teaching her 3 year old 3 financial concepts:
- The concept of what money is, as far as values of coins and bills.
- Money can be exchanged for things we want.
- Money is also a way to earn time.
Jaimie sums it up: “Basically, I want my children to understand at a young age that money is something we need to take care of and use wisely, and that it isn’t the best idea to spend everything as soon as we get it.”
Personal Finance for Children and Pre-Teens @ Being Frugal
Lynnae wants to make sure her children are financially prepared to survive in the real world. She has implemented the following plan:
- At age 6-9 the kids receive an allowance of 50 cents for each year of age, which is not tied to chores. The children are required to tithe 10% of their allowance. They split the remainder in thirds: long term savings (for college or a car), short term savings (for a toy they might want), and spending money.
- At age 10-12 the kids are moved from an allowance to a monthly salary, loosely tied to chores. The kids are responsible for budgeting.
Lynnae states, “As a mom, I’m sure the mistakes will be hard for me to watch, but I’d rather have her make mistakes now when I can guide her, than later when the stakes are higher.”
Money Advice to My Teenage Son @ Debt Free Revolution
Ana advised her teenager to not finance a vehicle, and work hard for college scholarships, grants, and work-study programs. She reminds him to pay cash for college tuition and textbooks and stay far away from the credit card tables at school. In addition:
- Start saving for an emergency fund.
- Start saving for retirement as soon as you have some extra money.
Ana states, “Every parent wants his or her child to have a better life and be more successful, and I am no different. I won’t be able to “bless” my son with actual money. But I do hope I can lift the money ‘curse’ by teaching him a better way than what I learned at his age!”
Teach your teen the basics of money management @ Gather Little By Little
Glblguy has a new teenager in the house. Here’s what they did to get prepared:
- Set up a checking and savings account
- Help them set-up a budget
- Help find them a job
- Determine who’s paying for what?
Glblguy leaves us with these thoughts: “Teen years are also a critical time for instilling good financial habits. If you instill good habits in them now, they will continue these habits into their adult lives. Don’t miss this critically important time. Teach them what you know, discuss the mistakes you’ve made and the negative impact they’ve had on your life so they can learn.”
College Money Matters @ Mrs. Micah
Mrs. Micah just finished college where scholarships covered 75% of her expenses. She shares the best financial moves to make while you are there:
- Don’t Stop Looking for Scholarships once in college.
- The Meal Plan and convenience store are a Rip-Off
- Pay Back Your Student Loan Leftovers
- Get an On-Campus Job
- Find Ways to Save Money on Clothes
- Some places, you might…but other times you really don’t need a car.
- Take a Personal Finance Class
Finally, Mrs. Micah reminds us not to get too stressed about money, if possible. ”College is a place where we learn, and learning from our mistakes is a big part of that. Relax, find ways to make frugality fun (or rather just do fun free stuff, don’t even think of it as frugal), hang out with your friends, and learn.”
Financial Advice for Your Twenties @ Remodeling This Life
By 20 Emily owned property. By 28, she bought and sold 3 properties and had 2 kids, while living in 3 different states. Here’s what she wished she had known sooner or learned in her twenties:
- Stay out of credit card debt.
- This is the best age to be frugal.
- Understand and love compounding.
- Start an IRA if you haven’t yet and contribute the maximum annually.
- Learn to budget.
- Love living below your means.
- Borrow only for the absolute necessities.
- When you start investing in stocks and bonds use no-load index mutual funds.
- Do not be looking to jump in and out of investments!
Emily reminds us, “Above all else though, don’t forget to have fun. You’re only young once!”
Money Tips for the Twenty Something Crowd @ Cash Money Life
Patrick says the twenties are for learning how to make a budget, spend less than you earn, create good spending habits, and invest. Here’s his list of hot-topics for the twenties:
- Get out of debt
- Build an emergency fund
- Invest in yourself and your career
- Invest for your retirement
- Prepare for life changes
- Take calculated risks
- Live your life and enjoy it
Patrick says, “Life is not measured in dollar$ and ¢ents. Your 20’s is perhaps the most exciting decade in terms of pure excitement and change. Most people in the young 20’s have fewer obligations preventing them from going out and doing something spontaneous. Use this time to your advantage. Have fun. Live your life. Find yourself. Now is the best time to do it.”
The Chaotic Thirties@ Moolanomy
Pinyo navigates through a busy decade “where many of us buy our first home, get married, have our first child (or second, or third…), start savings for kids’ education, try to build retirement savings for ourselves, worry about our parents who are nearing or already in their retirement, and work hard to advance our careers.” He expands on the following topics:
- First Home
- Children and Family
- Saving Money for Retirement
- Saving Money for College
Pinyo closes, “I hope you can see why the thirties is so chaotic, yet one of the most rewarding and important decade.”
Personal Finance Advice for Your 30′s @ My Two Dollars
David cuts right to the chase. “If you are already married and you don’t have children yet, the one huge piece of advice I can give you is to save your money. And save a lot of it.” He also adds some other tips and questions for the thirties:
- I would also make sure you get all that credit card debt paid off.
- Are you still carrying around student loan debt?
- Have you started saving for retirement?
- How are you for health insurance and life insurance?
He leaves us with the following thoughts: ”Your thirties are a great time – you have the ability to still do anything you want in life, you are young enough for any kind of adventure, you still have your full mobility, and you can still figure out how to play a video game.”
40s: The Forty Year Olds’ Wakeup Call @ Credit Withdrawal
Randall reminds us that once ”the 40th birthday has come and gone, and you’re closer to retirement than ever. If you’re anything like the majority of Americans, you’ve been putting off serious retirement saving until ‘later’.” He categories the next steps accordingly:
- For The Tortoises (Early Savers)
- For the Hares (Late Savers): Trim Expenses
- Plan for Life Expenses: College Expenses, Disposition of Property, Retired Life, and Leaving it Behind
And finally he states, “Plan for the future, but don’t forget to live life in the process.”
You’re in Your 50s – Wake Up and Start Saving @ Millionaire Money Habits
Ryan paints the following scenario, “You’re in your 50’s and all of your friends are starting to talk about their plans to take an early retirement and moving to the beach house in Florida they always dreamed about. You do the math and choke when you realize that if you want to retire at 65, you will need $1 million to produce a $40,000 income for the 25 years.” He goes over what you can do in your fifties if you realize you are short on money:
- People 50 and over have the option to contribute more money to their retirement plans.
- Delay retirement and work as long as you can. After that, you can still work part-time to supplement your income to reduce the amount of money you need to withdraw from your retirement accounts.
- Go heavy on a diversified stock portfolio.
- Consider downsizing and reducing your expenses.
He leaves us with his signature Millionaire Money Habit: “Funding your retirement for 25 or more years can be very costly and requires a sound plan. While $1 million will produce $40,000 in annual income for 25 years, that’s in today’s dollars. A 35-year-old today would need $3.25 million for the same relative income when inflation is taken into consideration. If you want to enjoy a comfortable retirement, don’t put retirement planning off another day.”
Retirement Objectives in your 50′s @ Credit Withdrawal
We returned to Randall for some additional thoughts about the fifties:
- If you’re turning 50 this year, that also means that Social Security will probably be around for you, in some form or another.
- It’s also time to simplify life even further.
- It’s ok to objectively think about where you might want to live.
- If you have some kids that don’t show any indications of leaving the nest anytime soon, it’s time “to start kicking a little butt.”
He reminds us: “There’s no time like the present to find new and interesting things to see and do. Do something you NEVER THOUGHT YOU’D DO. Go someplace you NEVER THOUGHT YOU’D GO TO. This is the time to explore those new vistas and activities you’ve always read about.”
In your 60’s? Use your financial freedom wisely @ Rocket Finance
Rocket wants us to take a closer look at our lifestyle in our sixties:
- Don’t just retire because you can, retire because you want to.
- Retirement is an opportunity to serve – family, humanity, God, and more.
- Happy retirees still have goals in life. What are yours?
- Frugal retirees have the opportunity to be philanthropic with their time.
- Look for opportunities to give advice (especially financial) to loved ones in your life.
- Remember your church in your estate plan.
He reminds us to: “Write down your thoughts about life – keep a journal.”
Easing into the Golden Years- the 60’s and Beyond @ Chance Favors
Ciaran says it’s time to “give yourself the gift of a full financial checkup. You need to take stock of what you have, prioritize what’s important and take the necessary measures to achieve those goals.” In addition he created a to do list for sexagenarians:
- Go and have a formal financial plan done, if you haven’t done so already!
- Determine your net worth
- Review your existing investment allocation
- Create a record keeping system
- Make sure you have prepared a will and updated your beneficiaries
- Analyze your cash flow
- Consider authorizing a power of attorney or creating a living will
- Review your Medicare coverage and consider the potential benefits of a Medigap policy
- Consider purchasing Long Term Care insurance
- Look to reduce your estate shrinkage
He concludes with: “After you’ve done all that, it’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy your golden years with nary a care in the world…”
4% Withdrawal Rule for Retirement @ Quest For Four Pillars
Four Pillars answers the following retirement question: “How much can I withdraw without running out of money?” Simple – use the 4% rule. He adds some additional clarification:
- The 4% rule is really a guideline rather than a hard and fast rule.
- If your equities perform better than expected then you can spend a bit more than the 4% rule amount.
- If you encounter a bear market and the value of your portfolio drops then you should be prepared to cut back on the withdrawals.
He also included bonus material in a previous article: Why Retirees Need Equity In Their Portfolios.
Retirement in the UK@ Plonkee
Plonkee covers the state pension plan including 2 sets of rules depending on whether or not you retire before 2010. Plonkee goes on to cover:
- How to make up a shortfall
- NI credits and using a partner’s record
- Minimum income guarantee
- Final salary pensions (employer based)
- Buying an annuity
- Income drawdown
Plonkee explains in detail the UK retirement system. It’s an interesting read even if you aren’t from the UK to see how it’s done there!
Whew! We did it. Thanks to all the personal finance writers who participated. The final result is a great guide for everyone to use at any stage of life.