17 Steps To Make Your Money Last A Lifetime

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Photo: Flickr / KRO-Media

Living to 100 is expensive, but taking time to run through this annual checklist will help you afford it.Here are 17 steps to a more secure financial life. 

analyse your spending

analyse your spending over the last month to see where your money is going and where you might be able to cut back to add more to your savings.

Many banks offer free money tracking through online accounts, and money-tracking tools such as Mint.com make it easier to follow the dollars, too.

Source: U.S. News

Get a number you want to save for your retirement.

Calculate how much money you want to have saved before you retire (online calculators can help).

For a shortcut, multiply your current annual salary by 12. Figure out how close you are to reaching that goal and what needs to change, such as working longer or saving more, to reach it.

Source: U.S. News

Check on your investment fees.

Check up on the investment fees you are currently paying through your retirement accounts and consider whether it makes sense to shift into lower-fee funds.

Try to save as much money whenever possible.

Source: U.S. News

Take advantage of your tax breaks.

Make sure you are taking advantage of all tax breaks available to you. Retirement savings accounts such as 401(k)s and IRAs offer a variety of tax advantages.

Check with your human resources department to see if there are any employee benefits you're not taking advantage of.

Source: U.S. News

Balance that portfolio!

Balance your portfolio once a quarter to make sure it reflects your current age and ideal risk level.

For a 30-something, that might mean 70 per cent in stocks and 30 per cent in bonds and other, more-conservative securities.

For a 60-something, it might mean the reverse combination.

Source: U.S. News

Look at the way you live.

Explore lifestyle changes that could boost your personal savings rate.

Does it make sense to live with other family members in a cross-generational household?

Will it make sense to do so in the future?

If you can save some money by living at home to pay off loans, then do so.

Source: U.S. News

If there's a will, there's a way!

Write a will at some point in your 20's or 30's, and also consider creating durable power of attorney and healthcare proxy documents.

You'll be in good shape later in life knowing you have a plan of action already in place.

Source: U.S. News

Be insured for your family's sake.

Make sure you have an appropriate amount of life insurance, especially if family members depend on your income.

If you or a loved one suddenly die, you want them to be financially safe and secure so they can stay on their feet even after a tragic loss.

Source: U.S. News

Save until you're satisfied.

Increase your savings rate over time until you reach your goal percentage. For a 20-something without a pension, the goal percentage might be 20 per cent of one's income.

Automate savings through your bank accounts or paycheck.

Source: U.S. News

Minimize debt.

Minimize the amount of debt that you carry, especially high-interest debt, such as credit card debt. If you do carry such debt, make a plan to aggressively pay it off.

If you don't go after your debt right away, it could end up weighing you down for the rest of your life.

Source: U.S. News

Factor in the family

Review the support you currently provide to family members, such as parents or adult children, and consider whether it is negatively affecting your own financial security and ability to save.

If it is, consider whether it makes sense to provide such extensive support, or if there's an alternative.

Source: U.S. News

See if long-term care is right for you.

Consider whether you should buy long-term care insurance.

Those with assets worth more than $50,000 might find that long-term care insurance allows them to afford assisted living or nursing-home care, should they need it.

Source: U.S. News

Check out a pension alternative.

Investigate whether purchasing an annuity would provide extra financial security in the future.

People without pensions can benefit from the steady payouts that annuities provide.

Source: U.S. News

Stay working after retirement.

Develop a plan to continue working in retirement, whether it's in your current field or a new one.

If you are approaching retirement, start taking steps to implement that plan, such as getting more training or certifications.

Source: U.S. News

utilise your pension power.

maximise Social Security payments by delaying benefits until age 70, if possible.

If you can wait it out with your saved money, and by working even when you retire, you'll be able to make a lot more from the government and really prosper in your golden years.

Source: U.S. News

Does charity make sense?

Consider if you would like to donate any money to charity and if so, make plans to do so.

You could get good tax breaks if you donate the right way, and perhaps you could go the Bill Gates route and donate billions.

Source: U.S. News

Avoid the scams.

Guard yourself against scams by avoiding offers that sound too good to be true, sharing your Social Security number and other personal information online or with strangers, and reporting any suspicious charges on your bank accounts or credit cards.

Source: U.S. News

Keep getting rich slowly ...

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