But even without that annual reminder, you can make your birthday an occasion to reflect on how you’re managing your finances. What should you do in your 20s? When you reach 40, ask if your retirement savings are on track. Make it to 60? The late or early debate about taking Social Security faces you this decade. You are 80 years old and still do not have a will. what is that
To help guide you in your financial self-examination, I’ve created, with the amazing team at The Washington Post, an interactive guide: Money Milestones for All Ages. You can find it at wapo.st/financieros-anniversarios.
Michelle Singletary’s Money Milestones for All Ages
I’ve received hundreds of questions over the years from readers all over the country. I’ve compiled the most common ones in the guide, from credit to wealth creation, housing and healthcare.
There’s advice for every decade of your financial life, from early 20s to retirees enjoying the fruits of their smart planning.
There’s also a “Post Reports” podcast that features a conversation with my two 20-something daughters. We talk about his struggles with adulthood. They have some stories. Get ready to laugh and cry as I discuss the money issues that dominate our lives.
Publish reports: How to be smart with your money at all ages
I wrote this project with you in mind. Whenever I read a survey or study that says Americans are financially illiterate, I want to scream “It’s not their fault!”
Yes, some people are lashing out because of bad choices. But the decisions you have to make about your money can be overwhelming, and it’s hard to know who to trust to help you make the right decisions.
“I would say the thing that scares me the most about being an adult is that there is no set path,” my youngest, Jillian, said during the podcast. “Do I want to stay in this job? Do I want to move to a different state? Do I want to stay in the area? Those are all big questions. And that’s what scares me about being an adult.”
That’s saying a lot, considering he has a mother who spent much of her career writing about personal finance and an equally savvy money manager father.
What we’ve done is put together a summary of important financial questions in one place, combined with links to my columns over the years and other articles as resources. But when putting this project together, I knew I couldn’t solve all the problems that were starting. So this is where I need your help.
To improve the project, we will add questions from readers. What do you think about your money?
“In your excellent Money Milestones column, I didn’t see anything about funerals,” emailed Jim Ward of Alexandria, Virginia. “Should I prepay my funeral?”
I will update the project next month and add Ward’s question.
Many people believe they have taken care of their funeral expenses with prepaid funeral and burial contracts, only for their family to discover after their death that there is more to pay. That is if they can find the information for the “preneed fix” as they are sometimes called.
“I just buried my brother, whose grave was paid for in advance, but not his funeral,” Ward wrote. “My brother had talked about pre-planning, but after going through his papers, we found nothing.”
What came next was to look up the policy they thought was in effect.
6 Joyful Steps to End-of-Life Planning
“We contacted the funeral home that his church uses and found out that he had not made any arrangements,” Ward said. “The funeral home contacted the church cemetery and we found out he had bought a plot.”
Ward ended up paying the cost of the funeral out of pocket.
A friend pointed out something else missing from the project: a section dedicated to people 90 and older.
There are 2.4 million people in the United States age 90 or older, including 2.3 million people between the ages of 90 and 99 and about 98,000 centenarians, according to Census Bureau single-year age estimates from 2021 onwards.
In a 2011 statement, an office demographer said: “Traditionally, the cut-off age for what is considered ‘oldest old’ has been 85, but more and more people are living longer and the older population itself is aging . Given its rapid growth, the over-90 population deserves a closer look.”
In 2016, there were 81,000 centenarians in the United States. That number is expected to rise to 589,000 by 2060, according to census estimates. By 2050, people aged 90 and over are expected to reach 10 percent of the population, consisting of people aged 65 and over.
We leave the advice for 80-year-olds. My thinking was that Americans over 80 would benefit from the same advice offered over the previous decade. But they deserve their own section, which will be combined with centenarians.
As with any endeavor of this depth and breadth, something is inevitable excluded But I will do my best to answer more of your most pressing financial questions. And you may not agree with my advice, but the goal is to facilitate a conversation about being intentional about your money. I hope I have done that, and that you will be an active participant in helping me identify topics to add to this project.