Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®
Extension Specialist in Financial Resource Management
Rutgers Cooperative Extension
Similar to a medical standards of care (e.g., having a colonoscopy starting at age 50 and regular blood pressure and bone density tests), certain age-based milestones tell people key actions to take at different ages.
The following financial activities often take place at various decades of a person's life:
20s and 30s- Debt repayment and household formation
40s and 50s- Peak earnings and wealth accumulation
60s- Preparation for retirement and retirement
70s and Above- Transitions and wealth distribution
Especially during later life, there are many age-related financial milestones. For example, at age 59 ½, people are eligible to make withdrawals from a traditional IRA or tax-deferred employer retirement savings plan without paying a 10% penalty and, at age 65, they are eligible to claim Medicare benefits. Like medical milestones, which are generally determined by scientific research (e.g., clinical trials), financial milestones are grounded in research and facts, typically tax laws and other government policies.
Want to improve your personal finances? Search the words “Financial Milestones for Adults” online and find articles that describe the age-related financial milestones that apply to you. Although actual timing will vary from person to person, below are some suggested financial milestones to achieve during each decade of adult life. Milestones achieved at an earlier age (e.g., a good credit score and an adequate emergency fund) should continue during subsequent years.
To learn more about age-based financial planning milestones from age 0-10 through 90-100, read “Money Milestones for Each Decade” (Reuters).
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