The internet is filled with lovely lists of life and financial goals for everyone turning a specific age. A quick trip to Pinterest provides you with list after list of financial goals to meet in your 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s. It’s admirable you should meet your financial goals by the time you reach 50, but you don’t have to stop there. It’s perfectly acceptable to create and meet financial goals at every age, but you won’t meet your financial goals before you turn 50 if you don’t learn which goals are worthy, and how to meet all of them in the next few years.
Be Debt Free
The biggest financial goal anyone can have at any age is to become debt-free. This means living without credit card debt, loans, or even car payments so that you can apply for title loans Tampa lenders offer in a pinch. There are numerous methods available for anyone looking to pay off their debt and live financially free, but you have to choose the one that works for you. For some families, it’s best to use the snowball method of debt repayment. This involves paying the minimum payment on all credit cards and debts while using all your disposable income to pay off the card with the lowest balance as quickly as possible.
Once that card is paid off, you apply that payment to the card with the next lowest balance. You continue to do this until all your debts are paid off. The more you pay off, the faster you’ll pay off the rest of your cards as your payment grows larger each time you pay off a card. Others work better paying off cards with high interest rates first and work their way down the list so they pay less money. Find the method that works for you, stick with it, and reap the benefits when you’re done paying your debts.
Own Your Home Outright
Many decide they want to pay off their homes before retirement, but there’s no reason you can’t pay if off sooner. Most mortgages are 30-years provided homeowners resist the urge to refinance and extend the terms. If you can round your payment up to the nearest $100 every month, do it. For example, if your mortgage payment is $1,017 per month, round it up to $1,100 per month every month. This allows you to pay almost a full payment more each year, which knocks both principal and interest off your loan.
When you’re done paying your debts, apply the payments you’re sending to credit cards towards your mortgage. If you’re able to take that debt and double or triple your mortgage payment each month, you can pay it off in less than half the time you would have otherwise.
Have Substantial Retirement
By the time you reach 50, your retirement portfolio should be substantial. However, many people fail to plan accordingly, not contributing to retirement for a time. Perhaps you landed your first job right out of college thinking you had all the time in the world to begin contributing to retirement. Now you realize just how close it is and just how important those years were. If you’re not maxing out your contributions each month, you’re not doing yourself any favors. This is especially true if your employer matches your contributions to retirement.
It’s also a good time to take some risks. You still have some time to allow your portfolio to grow, so don’t be afraid to allow for a few small risks here and there. It’s better to stick to a safer bet when you’re closer to retirement, but you have some time before that occurs. Now is the time to speak to your financial manager about taking a few well-calculated risks with a small portion of your investments.
Have a Stellar Emergency Fund
By the time you reach 50, your emergency fund should be substantial. It’s recommended all people have an emergency fund with at least $1,000 to help in case something unexpected occurs. From there, it’s recommended you grow your emergency fund to equal the cost of six months living expenses. By the time you’re 50, your emergency fund should hold the equivalent of a full year of living expenses.
In addition to that fund, you should have another with $1,000 for unexpected expenses such as replacing your tires or car repair, a home repair emergency, or any other emergency that tends to crop up when you’re least expecting it. You should also have a savings account you contribute to each month to use for anything you wish. It could be for a dream vacation, for a rainy day, for that new kitchen you want to install, or for that dream boat you’re eyeing. Your savings accounts should be filled to overflowing, and they should continue to grow substantially over the years.
Turning 50 is a big deal for many, but it’s significantly more enjoyable when you do it debt-free and with money in the bank. It doesn’t matter if you’re close to 50 or not. Now is the time to start considering your future, making a plan, and sticking to it. Write down your goals and break them down into smaller, more attainable goals. The more small goals you accomplish, the easier it becomes to meet those bigger goals. They motivate you and inspire you every time you cross one off your list.