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How to Manage Your Finances Through the Years

There are certain times in life when particular money management areas need special focus. The list below may remind you of areas of your finances that need special attention now or in the near future. Bear in mind that our stages are generalizations: some people are married with children in their twenties while others do not have dependents until their 50s, if ever. Whatever your situation, it’s important to plan ahead to accommodate the coming changes in your financial situation.

Life Stage Financial Guidance


This is a time when you probably finish your formal education and begin your first “real” job. Now is the time to start developing sound financial habits for a lifetime.

  • Establish credit and maintain a good payment record. Do not charge more than you can pay off in 3 months (or better yet, within the month).
  • Set up an emergency savings fund, typically 3-to-6 months’ living expenses.
  • Keep this money as liquid (accessible with few, if any, penalties) as possible.
  • Start learning about investing and establish an automatic savings program to reach your financial goals. Budgeting tools make this easier.
  • If you can, buy a home, or start saving for the down payment.
  • Make sure you are taking full advantage of the savings benefits available to you through your employer: 401(k) or 403(b), et cetera.
  • Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage (life, home, auto, health, disability, liability).

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One’s thirties are often considered the first “serious” decade of adulthood. This may or may not be true for you, but a considerable amount of “adulting” starts to be important in this decade, including saving and investing.

  • If you have children, begin investing for their education.
  • Continue to keep credit under control and avoid paying finance charges and annual fees.
  • Write a will or review the one you have.
  • Review your insurance coverage in light of changes in your family situation, increasing assets, or professional activities.


Through the forties, a lot of people discover what they want to enjoy over time. It is time to take stock, to decide whether your financial planning is on target to provide for you over the retirement years in the style you enjoy.

  • As your income grows, look for investments and savings plans that shelter some of it from taxes.
  • Use a retirement planning software program or see a financial planner to figure out exactly how much you’ll need to have saved to maintain your lifestyle in retirement.
  • Step up personal and employer-sponsored retirement savings accordingly.
  • Review your investment allocation and make sure you are still well diversified.


In the fifties, many people begin to consider slowing down and looking to shed parts of their lives that are no longer useful. It is a good time to invest in the specific future that you want to live.

  • Review your will and estate plan.
  • Pay off your debts. Depending on the going rates for different types of investments, it may or may not be wise to pay off your mortgage now.
  • Maximize your savings for retirement.
  • Make sure your growing assets are protected by liability insurance.

60s and Beyond

Getting close to retirement age sets you up to really investigate the condition of your lifetime assets. Your house may be your chief asset, or your retirement account and IRA may fill that bill. It is time to review and plan ahead for years to come.

  • As you near retirement, switch a portion of your investments to low-risk types to produce income rather than higher-risk growth.
  • With life expectancy increasing, make sure a portion of your retirement nest egg is invested so that it continues to outpace inflation.
  • Maintain your health and long-term-care insurance.
  • Remain wary of scams aimed at seniors.
  • Research reverse mortgages if you are a homeowner. You may need to tap the equity in your property to supplement your retirement income.

At every age, there are financial plans and goals to tackle that will set you up for your next adventures. Take advantage of the financial education opportunities offered through PenAir FCU to make sure you are headed in the direction you want to go.

Next Steps

There are many resources available from PenAir to help you take steps to securing your financial future. Here are just a few:

Meet With a Financial Coach
Get One-on-One Counseling
Financial Fitness Courses
Explore our free resources
Financial Calculators
Crunch the Numbers
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