Financial Goals for the Decades: Your 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's

Financial Goals for the Decades: Your 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's

Every decade of your life brings fresh challenges, and as your experience, education, and expertise increases over the years of working, so too should your income. As such, the financial goals of your 20's, when you’re finishing up your studies and getting your career established, are substantially different to those of your 30's and so on and so forth throughout the decades.

We’ve provided a bullet point summary of what those goals should look like so that you can make sure your finances are on track:

Your 20's

  • Become financially independent – it’s time to stop relying on mom and dad and start fending for yourself! Get a job and pay your own rent and bills. This means learning to budget and live within your means.
  • Develop a retirement plan and start contributing to it – the more you put aside at a younger age, the greater that wealth will grow over time, which is why it’s so important to start saving early.
  • Start paying off your debt – learn to be responsible with your credit cards and focus on paying off your car and student loan so that you can enter your thirties as debt-free as possible.
  • Get health insurance – just one surgery and a few nights in hospital could set you back hundreds of thousands of Rands. Get your health insured for your and your parents’ peace of mind!
  • Start an emergency fund so that you’re covered should life toss one of its curveballs your way. This should consist of enough money for you to live on for three to five months without any income.

Your 30's

  • This is the decade to clear your financial plate of all debt that’s not related to property (i.e. non-bond debt).
  • Sit down with a financial planner to make important plans like investing and growing your wealth.
  • Have your last will and testament drafted and, if you’re a parent, get life insurance so that your family will be taken care of should anything happen to you.
  • Start saving for your children’s university fund – you’ll want to give them the best possible start at life, and a proper education without being saddled with a student loan is an important part of that.
  • Start saving up for a down payment on a house – the bigger the down payment, the lower the interest you’ll have to pay and the quicker you can pay off your home.
  • Continue contributing to your retirement fund – in your thirties, you should have at least 1 x your annual salary saved.

Your 40's

  • Increase your children’s tertiary education funds – by now they might be staring down the barrel at varsity (or be a few years away from doing so) so you should ensure that your savings plan is on track.
  • Re-evaluate your household budget to accommodate your shifting lifestyle and expenses.
  • Revisit your will and policies to ensure that they’re up to date.
  • Diversify your investment portfolio with the goal of spreading your risk and increasing your income from your investments.
  • Continue contributing to your retirement fund – in your forties, you should have at least 3 x your annual salary saved.

Your 50's

  • Finish paying off your house and if your kids have moved out, consider downsizing… that’s if you would be happier someplace smaller.
  • Revisit your will, policies, financial plan, and household budget to ensure that they’re up to date to accommodate your shifting lifestyles and expenses.
  • Possibly consider changing your health insurance plan to provide you with the most appropriate coverage for your age and physical condition.
  • Review your retirement annuities.
  • Investigate long-term care insurance – it’s not pleasant to think about but you need to have a plan in place for when you and your spouse become too old to live alone and take care of yourself.
  • Continue contributing to your retirement fund – in your fifties, you should have at least 5 x your annual salary saved.

Your 60's

  • By the time you retire in your sixties, you should have at least 8 x your annual salary saved – obviously, the more you have been able to contribute the better and if you’re still fit and happy to work, you absolutely should!
  • Alternatively, consider looking into part-time employment options to subsidize your retirement annuities. Work keeps you active, your mind sharp, and provides a tremendous sense of purpose.
  • Investigate whether you’re eligible for government social assistance services – if you are, it wouldn’t hurt to receive a monthly contribution from them.
  • Investigate trusts so that the legacy you leave behind will empower your children and your grandchildren to achieve their dreams and goals in life.


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