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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

October 15, 2019 - 8:59am --

Last week I was privileged to be in the “sweetest place on earth” Hershey Pennsylvania for a national conference with other Family and Consumer Science Educators.  One of the sessions that I attended was focused on financial literacy with Dr. Barbara O’Neil and common goals based upon age. I found them very interesting, though challenging as I’m certain that I don’t advocate them as I should.  As you read through them think about who you might encourage in the age groups to take more interest in their financial future?  Starting young will make such a difference for their future.  

In your 20’s

  • Learn the basics of investing, start with something small and watch it grow
  • Learn the basics of budgeting and live within a budget
  • Start a 401 (k), 403 (b) or other retirement savings plan.  With compound interest, waiting will never make up for getting an early start
  • Make a plan for paying back student loans and building a good credit history
  • Establish an emergency fund

In your 30’s

  • Save as much as possible in retirement plans
  • Evaluate home ownership and purchase a home if desired
  • Build your investing expertise
  • Boost job skills through additional certifications or continuing education
  • Prepare basic estate planning documents
  • Start an investment account for children

In your 40’s

  • Max out retirement savings if at all possible
  • Consult with financial advisors if needed
  • Maintain adequate insurance and emergency savings
  • Review and/or update estate planning documents
  • Talk to your aging parents about their finances

In your 50’s

  • Ramp up savings in peak earning years
  • Rough out how much money you’ll need to live on after you leave work
  • Pay off all of your debts except a low-rate mortgage
  • Consider buying a retirement or vacation home
  • Educate yourself about Social Security, your retirement savings plan and long-term care costs
  • Start preparing for your next milestone in life, what comes after retirement?

In your 60’s

  • Start collecting Social Security
  • Cash in on senior discounts
  • Earmark funds for long term care expenses
  • Educate yourself about Medicare and required minimum distributions at age 70.5
  • Get more strategic about charitable gifting
  • Prepare yourself psychologically for the “withdraw and spend” phase of life

After listening to the instructor, I realize that even though I’ve been teaching basic financial education for a long time, there are some things on this list that I’ve overlooked or not approached in the classes.  I hope that these might be reminders to many of you as well?  Sometimes, life just keeps us so “busy” that we fail to really plan for the future and before we know it, we are faced with another milestone.  Take time this week to talk with your family, your spouse, and your children about your financial goals for the rest of the year and things you might really like to plan for in the future.

If creating a budget or increasing your credit score is something that you are interested in doing, please contact the Extension office to learn more about our Money 101 classes. 


Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.

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