Financial Planning at every age

Financial Planning – Make sure you’re ‘financially fit’ at every stage of life.

Getting professional help to get on top of your finances is a personal decision. But it can really make the difference between living an ‘ordinary’ life – that is, getting by, paying the bills, saving a little …. And living a comfortable life, with your money working hard, so eventually, you won’t have to.

A financial planner isn’t just focused on retirement though. If you’re serious about looking after your money, then decade by decade there are some things you should focus on.

We’re all different – so the important thing about having a money coach is being able to talk through where you are, and where you want to be. Even if you have a hefty trust fund, it’s a good idea to get some advice so you don’t just let that money burn a hole in your pocket, and instead make it last a lifetime.

In your 20s

“In your 20s, you’re usually enjoying your first job and your first real salary, and it can be tempting to just spend everything that you make,” says Julie Nipperess, of Step Up Financial Group, based in Orange NSW.

“But really, this is an important decade for setting yourself up properly for the future, with a strong financial foundation – it’s a great time to ‘make hay while the sun shines’. If you wrack up large debts, they’ll impede your progress as time goes on. Get superannuation advice (rather than just take the ‘default’ fund that your employer offers) and make a commitment to investing in it while you have few other financial responsibilities. Super is a great way to invest and minimise your tax.”

Julie also recommends starting a ‘rainy day fund’ – a financial buffer that will protect you if anything goes wrong.

“It’s important too, in your 20s to figure out what you really want from life, and start putting plans in place to reach your financial goals.”

“And, if you’re considering self-employment, which many people do, then you need a very different plan from someone who intends to work as an employee. There are fewer income protections in place when you’re running your own business, so you need to create them for yourself.”

Financial Planning at 30s

In your 30s

Your 30s are often a time when commitments and responsibilities start to ramp up – career advancement, marriage, a mortgage and kids could all be on the radar, so while personal insurance is important at any age, in your 30s it really is time to consider personal, insurance, tailored to your lifestyle, and ensure you’re adequately protected, especially as life changes. If you don’t already have one, now is also the time to make a will, and ensure you have an Enduring Power of Attorney.

“If you’re planning a family, plan your finances,” says Julie. “Children’s education in particular can be expensive, but you can start to save early, and reduce the burden of school fees when the time comes.

It’s also a good time to look at your superannuation and consider financial strategies as a couple, particularly if you’re reducing to one income to raise a family. Many women take time out from the workforce to raise the kids, and because gender pay gaps are still significant in many industries, this can really impact their super. Generally, they’ve already saved less than a man under the current compulsory scheme, and then time out means they’ll have zero contributions. Going back to work part-time doesn’t make up the shortfall. These are big things to consider for the long term. A planner can help.”

In your 40s

While there’s no doubt your career is probably peaking and your earning power too, if you have a family this particular time in life can be a real drain on finances which can make some couples feel like they’re not getting ahead.

“Professional budgeting advice, focused on reducing financial stress, can really help,” says Julie. “But you must be working together – if one of you is a spender and the other is a saver, it’s difficult to make any progress. You really have to be on the same side, to move forward”.

It’s also important at this time to review insurances too, and ensure everything is still adequate for your needs.

“Planners sometimes refer to insurance as ‘wealth protection’ – because if something unforeseen happens and one partner can’t work or the children get sick, this can really send you backwards financially,” explains Julie. “But having insurance will protect you. Let’s be honest, you’ve worked too hard, and come too far, to risk it all by not being adequately covered by insurance.”

Financial Planning at 50s

In your 50s

This is the countdown to retirement, so it’s a good time to consider the mortgage and getting that debt paid off, so that eventually, you’ll have a lot more equity in your property to ‘play’ with in retirement, and more importantly, you’re not still trying to meet those mortgage payments while you’re retired – they can take up a significant chunk of your income if you haven’t got on top of them, and retirement should be about enjoying life,” says Julie.

She also recommends getting good investment advice at this point too, so you can ramp up your super and really put away as much as you can so you’re financially prepared – and hopefully ahead – when you’re ready to finish work. Some people want to transition to retirement by working part-time in their late 50s, freelancing or consulting. This can be a great strategy, so long as you’re financially prepared for it.”

Financial Planning at 60s

In your 60s

Work with your financial planner so you understand how to manage your savings and income when you finish work, and get other advice about the upcoming later stages in life. Consider whether you’ll need aged care facilities and make sure you’ve got adequate money put aside if that eventuates. There are other things you should consider too – like Power of Attorney arrangements if your mental capacity fails in later years, and also your estate planning – your will.

“’Worry free, is where you want to be’, is what I say to my clients,” says Julie. “If you’ve had help from a planner along the way you’ll be well-positioned for this phase, but even if you haven’t had planning advice, it’s never too late – a planner can set out strategies so you can maximise what you’ve got, and make sure you’re living comfortably within your means, at every stage of life,” she says.


The information contained in this article has been prepared without taking into account your individual objectives, financial situation or particular needs – it is GENERAL ADVICE ONLY. Before acting on any information in this article, I recommend that you consider whether it is appropriate for your individual circumstances.

Need more information? Get in touch with Step Up Financial

    • 107 Moulder Street,
      Orange, NSW 2800

      PO Box 2499
      Orange, NSW 2800

    • (02) 6362 5445