17 Steps to Make Your Money Last a Lifetime

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Living to 100 is expensive, but taking time to run through this annual checklist will help you afford it. Here are 17 steps to a more secure financial life:

All ages:

• Analyze your spending over the last month to see where your money is going and where you might be able to cut back to add more to your savings. Many banks offer free money tracking through online accounts, and money-tracking tools such as Mint.com make it easier to follow the dollars, too.

• Calculate how much money you want to have saved before you retire (online calculators can help). For a shortcut, multiply your current annual salary by 12. Figure out how close you are to reaching that goal and what needs to change, such as working longer or saving more, to reach it.

• Check up on the investment fees you are currently paying through your retirement accounts and consider whether it makes sense to shift into lower-fee funds.

• Make sure you are taking advantage of all tax breaks available to you. Retirement savings accounts such as 401(k)s and IRAs offer a variety of tax advantages. Check with your human resources department to see if there are any employee benefits you're not taking advantage of.

• Balance your portfolio once a quarter to make sure it reflects your current age and ideal risk level. For a 30-something, that might mean 70 percent in stocks and 30 percent in bonds and other, more-conservative securities. For a 60-something, it might mean the reverse combination.

• Explore lifestyle changes that could boost your personal savings rate. Does it make sense to live with other family members in a cross-generational household? Will it make sense to do so in the future?

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20s and 30s:

• Write a will, and also consider creating durable power of attorney and healthcare proxy documents.

• Make sure you have an appropriate amount of life insurance, especially if family members depend on your income.

• Increase your savings rate over time until you reach your goal percentage. For a 20-something without a pension, the goal percentage might be 20 percent of one's income. Automate savings through your bank accounts or paycheck.

• Minimize the amount of debt that you carry, especially high-interest debt, such as credit card debt. If you do carry such debt, make a plan to aggressively pay it off.

40s and 50s:

• Review the support you currently provide to family members, such as parents or adult children, and consider whether it is negatively affecting your own financial security and ability to save. If it is, consider whether it makes sense to provide such extensive support, or if there's an alternative.

• Consider whether you should buy long-term care insurance. Those with assets worth more than $50,000 might find that long-term care insurance allows them to afford assisted living or nursing-home care, should they need it.

60s and up:

• Investigate whether purchasing an annuity would provide extra financial security in the future. People without pensions can benefit from the steady payouts that annuities provide.

• Develop a plan to continue working in retirement, whether it's in your current field or a new one. If you are approaching retirement, start taking steps to implement that plan, such as getting more training or certifications.

Maximize Social Security payments by delaying benefits until age 70, if possible.

• Consider if you would like to donate any money to charity and if so, make plans to do so.

• Guard yourself against scams by avoiding offers that sound too good to be true, sharing your Social Security number and other personal information online or with strangers, and reporting any suspicious charges on your bank accounts or credit cards

The How to Live 100 ebook is now available. We hope it helps you on your own journey to live a long, happy, and fulfilling life.

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22 Comments

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frenchiechop

invest on non taxable gain. I know the percentage ain't high but its tax free

October 18 2012 at 2:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wrench701

Step One - Keep socialists out of office.

September 28 2012 at 10:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
EresumeX

Free job portal. Let's get folks back to work! http://www.eresumex.com

September 28 2012 at 2:46 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
kitharris1

spend less than you take in. good advice for the government too.

September 28 2012 at 2:41 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to kitharris1's comment
wrench701

stop making sense

September 28 2012 at 10:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wrench701

you are making too much sense

September 28 2012 at 10:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bilbo

Step one - Get a lot of money.

September 28 2012 at 2:29 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Bilbo's comment
kitharris1

lol.

September 28 2012 at 2:38 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
RMS

This is all well and good if you have an income and a job. I intend to start tapping into SS at age 62, 7 years to go. Since losing my job at age 52 I have not been able to find anything except multiple part time jobs with minimal pay, nothing that compares to what I use to make.
"I have enough money to last the rest of my life, as long as I don't buy anything". Jackie Mason.

September 28 2012 at 2:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
SPQR

forget all this advice and go out and blow all your money. When you are on the road heading south you can reflect on all the good times as you freeze to death

September 27 2012 at 10:42 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
cslinz62

I cashing in on SS at 62 if I live another 12yrs. I'm tired of working the past 30+yrs. supporting myself. Never met any decent men with jobs that was worth marrying so they could take care of me. I'm not waiting til 70. And if my check is only $500.00 or less, then I'll just build me a lean-to under a bridge & make the best of it.

September 27 2012 at 7:28 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to cslinz62's comment
SPQR

maybe your attitude contributed to being single. Men are not for taking care of you. It is a pertnership. If you want to be taken care of hire a CAREGIVER

September 27 2012 at 10:40 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
SPQR

maybe your attitude contributed to being single. Men are not for taking care of you. It is a pertnership. If you want to be taken care of hire a CAREGIVER

September 27 2012 at 10:41 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
xraybrain

I think i will take my social security payments the day i hit 62. They would just love it if i died before age 70. Besides the average life span of an american is like 77. So i might as well start tapping the system at 62

September 27 2012 at 7:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to xraybrain's comment
papadon.don

I took mine at 62...now I'm 75... that's a lotta yrs, and my wife has been protected all that time. They want u to wait as long as possible, so you will croak and save the system lots of money.... they are nothing more than common insurance shysters.

September 28 2012 at 6:24 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
vlady1000

I'm taking mine as soon as I can. Not that I will need it, just do not feel comfortable with the gov holding it. Rule #1, never let the gov have any more of your money (in any form) than possible. No matter whatthey do with it, it will a bad investment. they only know how to spend

September 28 2012 at 5:40 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
RSW

#18 do not give it to a politician or a union !

September 27 2012 at 7:01 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply