As we get older, our financial priorities tend to evolve and change. For example someone in their 20s has different priorities for budgeting their money as opposed to someone in their 40s. Someone in their 20s may be concerned on how much money they have for rent or if they have enough money to enjoy themselves on a weekend. Whereas someone in their 40s may prioritize paying down their mortgage or accumulating a healthy retirement savings balance. Unfortunately, mistakes happen and people do not follow the correct financial strategy for their age and situation. Here are a few examples of common mistakes people make based solely on their age:
Most experts would tell you that at a younger age, you may want to consider investing heavily and more aggressively, giving you a head start that can grow over time. But yet research tends to point towards a trend of younger investors either investing very conservatively, or in many cases, not at all, because they are afraid of the risk that comes with it. Most make these decisions based on lack of knowledge or overall fear of making the wrong decision. (Lindsay Larson, assistant professor of marketing at Georgia Southern University College of Business Administration)
This age range can be tricky. A lot of different finances begin to pile up at the same time. Today, more than ever, people have started to put off getting married and having children into their 30s. The most common misconception these investors make is “wanting the same standard of living they remember their parents having when they left home.” If this is true, it is a mistake because it probably took their parents a long time to get to that point. It is not immediate. Also, with all the different types of investment vehicles available, it can be very confusing and easy to make mistakes. Do your research or contact an advisor. (Manisha Thakor, Director of Wealth Strategies for Women at Buckingham and the BAM Alliance)
This generation has larger expenses to deal with. Studies have shown that a large amount of people have not paid their mortgage down enough. Or they’re footing the bill for a child’s college education. Or both. A very common mistake people make is dipping into their retirement account early or taking out a loan against their retirement account. Make your retirement account your very last option for pre-retirement withdrawals! This way you can avoid any early withdrawal penalties or miss out on potential growth of those funds when you take out a loan.
50-Somethings & Beyond
Most investors in their 50s commonly make the mistake of upping their standard of living for many reasons. Examples include: kids leaving the house, paying off a mortgage, or paying off a child’s tuition. When in fact, they should still be focused on working with a budget and saving. With advancements in technology and healthcare, people are living longer, healthier, more active lifestyles. This means that you are going to need to have a healthy retirement account balance to float you through your long retirement years. People that are 60 and beyond may have a lot more assets to their name. Handling those assets and making the correct choices and direction may be more difficult. Unfortunately, as someone gets older their ability to understand this may be more challenging. Most of the time, people do not want to accept this and refuse to ask for help. Assign or ask for financial advice from a TRUSTED family, friend, or advisor.
Sure, we all make mistakes and nobody’s financial plan is going to be perfect. But if we educate ourselves just a little bit, we are less likely to fall into some bad habits that cost us money and make things more difficult.