Each stage of life comes with its own set of challenges. When you’re 25, you are concerned about finding the right job in the right career, making enough money to pay your rent/mortgage and having enough left over to pay your student loan bill.
When you’re in your 40s and 50s, you are more concerned about saving enough to help your kids through college and your next phase of life—whether it’s retirement or something completely different.
Regardless of your life stage, here are a few saving/investment strategies to consider as you move from one stage to the next.
When you are post college but still early in your career, consider:
1. Saving for a down payment. This will make a big difference when you are ready to buy a house and already have a down payment saved.
2. Saving for your kids’ education. Even if you can only put a few bucks away at first, start small and increase as you go. Establishing the account and making it a practice to put money in there on a regular basis is the foundation for success.
3. Saving for retirement. It may seem a long way off if you’re 27 or 37 or even 45, but contributing to a retirement account is important when you have a long-term view. If your employer offers a matching program, make sure to take advantage of it. Your money will grow at a much faster clip, preparing you for that retirement day that will arrive sooner than you think.
4. Saving for … other things. Try setting up one or two savings accounts for specific things like cars or vacations. Then when you need to replace your car, you don’t have to start from scratch and find the money. You already have some—or all of it—saved. Same thing for vacation spending.
If you’re in the middle or later stages of your career, consider:
1. Saving for the next phase of life. It might not be retirement, but paying yourself for a volunteer ministry opportunity or some other fulfilling position.
2. Saving—and investing—so you can make a significant impact on a ministry or a nonprofit or some other initiative that is close to your heart.
Whether you’re just beginning your career or are considering what to do next after your career is over, it’s important to have an adequate savings account. Some suggest $1,000 for emergencies, while others suggest something more along the lines of three to six months of expenses. Regardless of each approach, endeavor to have enough savings where you could weather a financial storm for the short term—however you want to define that.
Saving, investing and demonstrating generosity are lifelong exercises. We may never master any of them, but by keeping our hands open and not closed, we assemble the right mindset for whatever that next life stage is.