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Financial Planning Through the Years

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How to approach finances during three phases of life

Taking a good look at one's finances is always, well, a good idea. Doing so can help people plan for the future by balancing short-term and long-term needs and creating a savings and investment portfolio that will pay dividends over time.

Because people's needs change, strategies vary during three different periods of life.

Young adults — men and women in their 20s and 30s

As the old saying goes, it's never too early planning for the future.

"The earlier you start investing for retirement, the longer your money has to mature and grow and individuals who start saving in their 20s are at a serious advantage over those who wait until middle age," writes Kathryn Tuggle of FOXBusiness.com.

Here are some ways to get the ball rolling:

Middle age — men and women in their 40s and 50s

Financial planning experts say they're often surprised by how little planning many people in their 40s and 50s have done; however, just as it's never too early to start, it's never too late either.

Retirement or near-retirement age

Even if you haven't planned for retirement or haven't planned strongly enough, don't despair, says the website money-zine.com.

"If you agree with the mind-set ‘it's never too late,' then you'll appreciate what retirement planning in your 60s is all about," money-zine.com notes. "When it comes to retirement planning, you don't ever want to give up and concede it's too late." In fact, men and women in their 60s may even have a few advantages, the website declares: "[M]ost of your larger household expenses should be out of the way or paid off," and "you're at or near your peak earning years."

Here are a few strategies to take a look at:

These are just a few of the steps that adults of all ages can take in order to plan for their future and for their retirement down the road.

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