Financial Goals For Families: Starting Off

BOSTON (CBS) – A financial plan begins with setting goals. And goals are different depending on our age and circumstances.  I thought we would spend the week reviewing goals for the different stages of our lives.

Our first example is a couple and they are getting married. She’s 29 and he’s 30, which is the average ages of a first marriage in Massachusetts.

Planning a future together a couple needs to have the money talk before they marry or move in together! What are they bringing into this union? Assets? Debt? School loans? Auto?

Next they need to create a list of goals. Short term and long term. Goals for most grown-ups have a financial component to them and so in order to achieve those dreams you need to plan your finances.

The most common goals for a young couple:

  • Pay off school debt
  • Get out of credit card debt
  • Have an emergency fund
  • Buy a house
  • Save for retirement
  • Start a family

Paying off the debt is a no-brainer. Don’t get caught up in only paying the minimum on your credit card debt. Be aggressive here. And pare down those school loans. Less debt will help when you apply for a mortgage.

Start saving for an emergency fund. It’s not glamorous but you will be so glad you have a rainy day fund. According to the Economist magazine, nearly half of American households said they could not cover an unexpected $400 expense without borrowing or selling something.

Buying a house – you will need to save for the down payment. This is a short-term goal to save some dollars. Use a savings account or a money market fund for the savings.

Saving for retirement. Even in your 20s, this should be a priority. If you are under 30 and start to save for retirement, you have over 35 years to save and invest to reach this goal. And the earlier you start the less money you actually need to contribute to be millionaires.

You both should be investing in the retirement plans at work and if your employer does not offer one consider using a Roth IRA. If you both contribute $2,000 annually to a retirement plan and we assume an 8% return you could each have $500,000, $1 million together. If you can contribute $3,000 a year you could accumulate $1.5 million with the above scenario. If you are under 30 consider being aggressive with your portfolio.

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