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Planning your financial future

Personal finance considerations

Personal financial planning is an important step to ensuring a secure financial future. Here are some tips you can follow at any age.
Thinking about personal finance can be a little overwhelming — and that's okay. But even if you have reservations, you don't want to push it to the back burner. Taking care of your money and having a plan for your financial future can actually make things easier, not more difficult, as you hit the ups and downs of life.
 
Here are a few point to consider at any age.

The basics of saving

When it comes to getting your financial planning set, there are a few key basics you want to follow:
  • Create a budget: A budget can be the foundation to your financial success. Set one up as soon as you can and start tracking your income and expenses.
  • Save early: The earlier you can save, the better. Giving your retirement investments and emergency savings accounts a lot of time to grow can help you weather the ups and downs of the market.
  • Avoid debt: You want to avoid debt as much as you can. So the sooner you pay down student loans and avoid credit card debt, the better off you'll be. Plus, it can help improve your credit score.
  • Watch your credit: Your credit score is a huge part of your financial picture. A good credit score can save you money via lower interest rates on loans and mortgages. Also, check it on a yearly basis and dispute any errors.
  • Take care of your health: Focusing on a healthy lifestyle when you're young can have a big payoff as you age, helping you potentially avoid medical expenses and getting you better rates on your life insurance policy.

Focus on saving for retirement

Regardless of your age, most Americans have a lot of questions about retirement. You want to have some financial independence and live out your golden years relaxing, traveling or just spending time with your loved ones.
 
To do that, you'll need to prepare for that future:
  • Take advantage of employer-sponsored plans: Many employers offer some sort of retirement plan, in the form of a 401(k), 403(b) and others. These plans allow you to take money out of your paycheck and put it into a retirement investment account.
  • Check for employer-matching: A lot of employers also offer matching contributions, meaning they will match your contributions up to a certain amount or percentage. This is, in essence, free money, so you'll want to take advantage of it.
  • Look at other options: Even if you aren't offered a 401(k) through your job, you can still open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and make contributions on your own. 

Think about the long term

While retirement is very important, it's not the only thing you need to consider as you age. You want to build your finances looking at the full picture so you're in a good spot to manage any surprises.
 
Here are some things to think about:
  • Life insurance: Even if you're young and/or single, life insurance is something to consider. A life insurance policy is there to help protect your loved ones, pay off existing debts, cover burial costs and provide some financial stability after you've passed. Plus, policies generally are less expensive when you're younger.
  • Long-term care: There might come a time when you're injured, ill or disabled, and can no longer work or take care of yourself. Long-term care insurance and planning can help you cover some of the costs and protect your assets.
  • Estate planning: Get your will set up so you have a say in where you'd like your money, property and heirlooms to go. It can help speed up the probate process and ensure your loved ones have some financial security.
When you approach personal finance in stages, the whole picture can become a lot easier to work through. If you need some extra help, consider teaming up with a financial professional who can provide guidance on the best ways to reach your goals.
 
 

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All Learning Center articles are general summaries that can be used when considering your financial future at various life stages. The information presented is for educational purposes and is meant to supplement other information specific to your situation. It is not intended as investment advice and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

Learning Center articles may describe services and financial products not offered by Protective Life or its subsidiaries. Descriptions of financial products contained in Learning Center articles are not intended to represent those offered by Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

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