No matter your age, here’s how to tell if your finances are on the right track – MarketWatch

December 19, 2021 by No Comments

The path to becoming financially secure is not linear. Nor is there a one-size-fits-all approach.

But to put your head in the sand over saving and investing, whether for retirement or some other goal, is perhaps the worst strategy of all.

Individual circumstances make everyone’s journey slightly different, but no matter your age, there’s always a vision. You can change it over the decades, but at least you have something to aim for, and an idea of where you stand in relation to that goal. Include a margin of error because no one knows what life—or the stock market — will bring. 

This path — and the choices you need to make — will look different depending on your age, what life-altering moment you’ve experienced and the lifestyle you want. Someone a few years from retirement shouldn’t have the same mix of stocks and bonds in his portfolio as someone just starting out her career. A baby or an empty nest, a new business or a business failure, divorce or illness can all alter your ability to save.

Retirement, of course, is one of the biggest financial goals. There is no one answer about how much money you’ll need or how to go about it. And saving can be hard and involve sacrifices. But there is an often-underappreciated quality to doing it: that money gives you more control over your life and how you spend your time — which feeds into how happy and comfortable you’ll be. 

These suggestions can help you get there, no matter what stage of life you’re in:

The 20s

Retirement seems so far away. But this may be the most crucial time to start saving for it, as those in their 20s can benefit most from the power of compounding. That’s when an account’s returns and interest grows atop itself every month, year after year, decade after decade.

Paul Merriman has an eye-opening explanation of how you can turn yourself into a multi-millionaire by saving for retirement for just five years if you start at 25 and do nothing after that.

Of course, this is also the time when you’re probably earning the least amount of money in your career and the budget may be tight. You may be balancing a number of money goals and obligations.

Still, here are some tips to get your savings on track:


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