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Your personal financial journey is like a map filled with milestones marked by age. From financial independence in our early adult years to strategic planning for retirement, each stage presents new opportunities.

To help you secure a stable financial future, we dive into the financial milestones individuals may strive to achieve during different stages of life.

Financial Milestones in Your 20s: Laying the Foundation

For many, the early 20s is where their financial journey begins. It’s the perfect time to find the best ways to allocate your finances. A time of exploration and growth, these years allow you to set the groundwork for your future financial well-being.

1). Start a Budget: Budgeting can help you understand where your money is going and, in turn, help you make informed financial decisions. Read more about budgeting for beginners here: Budgeting for Beginners

2). Set Up an Emergency Fund: The general rule of thumb for emergency funds is to have at least three to six months of living expenses available. This will help provide a cushion in case of unexpected expenses or job loss.

3). Keep Retirement in Mind: It’s best to start contributing to retirement funds early, no matter how far away retiring may feel. We suggest taking advantage of employer-sponsored retirement plans like 401(k)s or individual retirement accounts (IRAs). You can aim to contribute at least enough to qualify for employer-matching contributions.

4). Build Your Credit Score: A solid credit score opens a world of financial freedom. You can begin to build a strong credit history by using credit cards responsibly and paying bills on time. A good credit score will be valuable in the future when applying for loans or mortgages.

5). Pay off High-Interest Debts: A freeing financial future is one with little to no debt. If you have student loans or credit card debt, prioritizing paying off high-interest balances is an excellent step. Minimizing debt early on may also free up more resources for saving and investing. Explore our tips to relieve yourself from credit card debt here: Swipe Smart: Tips To Break Free from Credit Card Debt and Stay Financially Savvy

Financial Milestones in Your 30s: Building Upward

A new decade brings new benefits (such as being comfortable in your career) and challenges (such as increased responsibilities). Now is the time to focus on continuing to build your current wealth and securing your financial future.

1). Increase Your Retirement Contributions: A more stable income allows for the opportunity to increase your retirement contributions. We recommend saving at least 15% of your income for this future milestone.

2). Purchase Insurance: By purchasing life insurance and disability insurance, you can protect your loved ones and your assets. If you have already done this, be sure to review existing policies to find the best coverage for you.

3). Save for Specific Goals: Whether you’re buying a home, starting a family, or going back to school, setting aside savings can help you achieve specific goals. Consider opening a separate savings account to track progress. Call your local USB branch to learn more about our Maximizer Savings Accounts.

4). Revisit Your Budget: As your financial situation evolves, revisiting your budget is an excellent way to adjust spending categories and look for opportunities to reduce expenses and increase savings.

5). Save for Children’s Education: If you have children, you can start saving for their education expenses. Consider opening a 529 college savings plan or other tax-advantaged accounts to help build their financial foundation.

Financial Milestones in Your 40s: Looking Ahead

With retirement feeling not-so-distant, your 40s are the ideal time to perfect your financial plan and make strategic decisions to ensure a comfortable future. Achieve this by doing the following:

1). Maximize Your Retirement Savings: In your 40s, contributing the maximum allowable amount (or what you can comfortably contribute) can help accelerate your savings.

2). Update Estate Planning: If applicable, now is the time to review and update your estate plan, including wills, trusts, and beneficiaries. Doing so ensures your assets are distributed according to your wishes and that your loved ones are protected.

3). Pay Down Debt: Prioritizing paying off any remaining high-interest debt—such as mortgages or personal loans—may provide greater financial freedom in retirement.

Financial Milestones in Your 50s: Perfecting the Details

Retirement is officially on the horizon. That means it’s time to fine-tune your retirement plan and make any necessary adjustments to ensure a smooth transition by doing the following:

1). Assess Retirement Readiness: Evaluating your retirement income and expenses allows you to adjust your savings and investment strategies as needed to meet your goals. Take advantage of catch-up contributions to retirement accounts if you’re behind on saving.

2). Plan for Healthcare Costs: Prepare for healthcare costs in retirement, including Medicare premiums, supplemental insurance, and out-of-pocket expenses, by exploring health savings accounts (HSA) as a tax-advantaged way to save for medical expenses.

3). Review Housing Options: In your 50s, you may be ready to downsize or relocate to a more affordable home. Selling your home can free up equity for retirement savings and reduce ongoing housing expenses.

4). Optimize Social Security Benefits: Now is the time to develop a strategy for claiming social security benefits to maximize your lifetime income—consider factors such as your health, marital status, and projected lifespan.

5). Stay Informed: There may be changes in tax laws, investment strategies, and retirement planning best practices. Seek advice from financial professionals to ensure you’re making well-informed decisions.

In Your 60s and Beyond: Enjoying What You’ve Built

As you enter your 60s, it’s officially time to reap the rewards of a lifetime of smart saving and planning. Enjoy the fruits of your labor and make the most of your retirement years.

1). Transition to Retirement: Transition smoothly to retirement by planning a withdrawal strategy for retirement accounts. We encourage you to consider factors such as tax implications, investment returns, and anticipated longevity.

2). Simplify Investments: Reduce complexity and minimize risk to your investment portfolio by consolidating accounts and reallocating assets to more conservative investments as you age.

3). Stay Engaged: Financial success doesn’t stop at retirement! We encourage you to monitor your financial plan and be prepared to regularly adjust it as circumstances change or unexpected expenses arise.

4). Enjoy Life: At the end of the day, remember to enjoy life and make the most of your retirement years. Spend time with loved ones, pursue hobbies and interests, and savor the freedom that comes with financial independence.

Navigating personal finance milestones requires planning, discipline, and perseverance. By setting clear goals, establishing healthy financial habits, and seeking professional guidance when needed, you have the tools needed to achieve financial freedom at every stage of life. Whether you’re just starting your career or enjoying retirement, following a timeline of financial milestones can help you stay on course and reach your financial goals.

Ready to set yourself up for financial success? From budgeting and paying down debt to assessing retirement plans and receiving social security, our experts at Union Savings Bank are here to help. Visit your local branch today or contact us here: [LINK]


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These articles are for educational purposes only and provide general mortgage information. Products, services, processes, and lending criteria described in these articles may differ from those available through Union Savings Bank. For more information on available products and services and to discuss your options, please contact a Union Savings Bank loan officer.