Life proceeds in decades, and while the precise nature of each 10-year period can vary from person to person, the general trajectory is pretty much the same for all of us. We start out wild and penniless at 20, then begin to acquire a bit more money and a bit more financial sense as we move toward 30. We also acquire a surprising number of responsibilities, often in the form of children and mortgages. At some point, usually in our mid-30s, nearly all of us wonder if we’ll ever be able to get our financial act together. Finally, though, as we head into our mid-40s, we start to climb out from under the mountain of mortgage debt and tuition bills that we’ve been paying — only to discover that retirement is not that far away and we’d better get cracking.
Each decade of your life calls for a different financial plan. To help you plan whichever decade lies ahead for you, we’ve recruited people who have just recently finished that stage of life. We’ve asked them to be honest about what they’ve experienced over the past 10 years. In particular, we’ve asked them to reflect on what they wish they had known a decade ago. If you’re looking for some real-world wisdom on the best way to plan your own life over the 10 years ahead, we invite you to listen in. You just may see your own future unveiled.
My roaring twenties
University was easy. But Learning about Money? That was hard.
Buy diapers or pay the mortgage?
Your thirties are tough. So don’t beat yourself up.
The sensible decade
The kids are growing, but are your investments? At 40, it’s time to take stock.
The rush to freedom
We didn’t start saving until we hit 50. We retired comfortably less than a decade later.
Financial tips slideshow: Four things I wish I had known
Find out what you need to know at 30, 40 and 50.