FINANCIAL FOCUS: Investment strategies for each of life's ‘seasons'

Joe Faulk

Joe Faulk

Published: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 06:46 PM.

Fall is almost officially here — and if you’re like most people, you’re probably wondering how summer went by so fast. Trips to the lake or beach are fading in memory now, giving way to helping kids with homework, raking leaves and the other rites of autumn.

Just as your day-to-day tasks change with the seasons, so, too, will your money management and investment activities at different phases of your life.

Here’s how these scenarios might appear:

Phase one: Planning for possibilities — When you’re young and starting out in the working world, your most immediate financial concerns may be to pay off student loans and then, possibly, save for a down payment on a house.

To address both these goals, you’ll need to budget carefully. Yet, even at this stage of your life, you should start thinking about saving for retirement — because time is your biggest ally.

Consequently, if you work for an employer who offers a retirement plan, such as a 401(k), contribute what you can afford. At the very least, put in enough to earn your company’s matching contribution, if one is offered. You may also want to open an Individual Retirement Account.

Phase two: Gearing up for other goals —As you move through life, and possibly begin a family, you’ll likely develop other financial goals, such as helping your children pay for college. You may want to consider investing in a tax-advantaged college savings vehicle, such as a 529 plan. In addition, it’s important to have enough life insurance to protect your young family.

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