Long before David Mendels became an advisor, he saw the importance of financial planning no matter what a person’s age is.
He was in his 20s when a married couple he knew from college were killed in a private plane crash. While their death was devastating enough for loved ones, the agonizing part was that they had a 3-year-old daughter.
Each half of their extended family wanted to do the right thing by taking custody of the young girl. The situation had the potential for much ugliness among in-laws, until it was discovered the couple had created a will only days before their death. In it the wife’s brother was named as their daughter’s guardian. And at that point, because the young parents’ wishes were clear, all arguing stopped.
“If you are parents of small children, I don’t care if you don’t have two nickels to rub together,” said Mendels, a certified financial planner and director of planning at Creative Financial Concepts. “You have to have a will and name someone to be a guardian for your children. You have to take care of your kids,” he explained.
Having a will is just one aspect of financial planning that depends on where you are in life. And, as illustrated above, financial planning is about more than investments and retirement savings.
While everyone’s situation is different and their planning needs are not entirely age-specific, some generalizations can be made.
Financial planners say that for people in their 20s—when many people are just embarking on careers and are financially beholden to no one but themselves—several aspects of planning are important whether they have children or not.
For starters, experts advise building an emergency fund worth at least six months of your salary, thinking about saving for retirement and getting a handle on what you’re earning versus what you can spend.
“What usually occurs with them is you’re trying to teach them how to save money,” said Mark LaSpisa, a CFP and president and managing advisor at Vermillion Financial Advisors.
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