Financial Advice for Every Decade

April 25, 2023

Financial Checklists for your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s & 60s

It’s important to stay on top of your bank balance at every stage of life, but with age comes a complicated balance of mortgages, investments, pensions, and expanding families. Therefore the financial advice that we offer to clients in their 20s and 30s is different to what we offer clients in their 60s. Although the foundations are the same, the practicalities of how best to manage your money changes with each decade.

The expert financial advisers at GreenSky Wealth have put together a handy financial checklist for every decade, so you can make the most of your money at every stage of life!

Click on the image below to see the infographic in more detail, or read on below.

Financial Advice for your 20s


Entering your 20s is a time of change, freedom, and potential financial uncertainty.

No longer relying on student loans or your parents as a source of income, it is an exciting but also stressful time for your finances.

Start to educate yourself early and consider the long-term implications of your spending. Focus on paying off debt and getting some savings in place, this will be worth it in the long run.

Actions to take

Set up a savings account: Start to save and make it a habit. Once it becomes second nature you will be more considerate of your purchases.

Downloading a budgeting app may help!

Don’t settle for just any savings account: Shop around as every savings account will have different offers and interest available. You don’t necessarily have to languish at 0.1%!

Consider setting up a LISA: You can use a lifetime ISA to buy your first home or save for later life. You can put in up to £4k per year and the government will add a 25% bonus to your savings – it’s like free money!

Prioritise your savings: Don’t just save for ‘fun’ things like holidays or tech, allocate a chunk of your savings to an emergency fund for a rainy day.

Consider investing: If you are looking to invest early, find yourself a good independent financial advisor. Proper financial advice will pay itself back many times during your life, as the best investments are built up over long periods of time.

Pay off debt: Start to pay off any debts if possible, excluding student loans taken out between 1998-2012.

Know your credit score: As this will have an impact on future loans and mortgages.

Apply for a credit card: IF you are sure that you can pay back the monthly payments, a credit card is a good way to boost your credit score.

Get insurance: Protect your assets such as your home, technology, and vehicle. You will be thankful if there ever is an accident!

Start a pension: The sooner you contribute towards your pension the better benefits you will see in the future.

Things to avoid

Overspending: Spending your pay check as soon as you get it on non-essentials is obviously not the best way to manage your money. Be considerate with your spending, especially when you are at the start of your career.

Getting a credit card you can’t afford: This is a quick way to build up debt that you do not want this early in your financial journey (or ever!)

Relying on buy now, pay later apps: This is a similarly slippery slope. If you are not sure that you will be able to pay monthly payments later down the line, then avoid these types of apps.

Keeping all your money in one current account: You will be missing out on a whole host of benefits from savings accounts and investment opportunities.

Relying on parents to bail you out: Although not everyone has this luxury in the first place, it is a bad habit to get into and does not teach you the essential money management skills you will need in the future.

Financial Advice for your 30s


If you made it through your 20s in one piece you are hopefully in a more secure position financially and have moved up the career ladder. You may also be starting a family of your own, buying property, and be beginning to seriously consider your investment options.

Actions to take

Get an independent financial adviser: If you haven’t got one already (it’s worth it, trust me!) then set up a meeting for a financial review.

Negotiate a higher salary: If you have been with a business for a while, it’s possible that you are being underpaid compared to people joining the company. It might be time to ask for a higher salary or look around for better opportunities.

Make a will: Although none of us like to think about a worst-case scenario, it’s important to have a will that ensures your assets will go where you want after your death. This is particularly true if you have a family.

Start saving for your children: Although they might only be small, it is estimated that it costs £24,000 for a student living away from home. Better get saving! Setting up a Junior ISA is a good way to do this.

Put more into your pension contributions: As you approach your full earning potential, you should now begin to put in as much as possible, and benefit from maxing out your employer contributions.

Diversify your investments: A diverse portfolio of stocks, bonds, and international investments will help you to reach your financial goals.

Top up your emergency fund: If your rainy-day fund is looking a little sodden, it might be time to consider a top up. A good rule is to allow 3 months’ salary, and then aim for 6 months.

Get financial protection in place: with the chances of having dependents increasing if your 30s, make sure you have measures in place to protect your loved ones should you no longer be able to work. Life insurance, critical illness cover and income protection are all worth considering.

Things to avoid

Not having clear financial goals: At this point in your life, we hope you have direction. If not it is worth having a think about where you want to be financially, past just “I want more money!”

Opting for higher mortgage payments: If you’re on the property ladder (or looking to be) make sure that your monthly mortgage payments are manageable in the event of any unprecedented changes.

Not saving for retirement: If you weren’t saving in your 20s then it is even more imperative you save in your 30s. Whether that is through a workplace pension or personal pension, preparing for retirement early will give you the best chance at a good life later on!

Financial Advice for your 40s


At this point you are considered a grown up, whether you feel like one or not! Although it might still seem early, starting to plan for your retirement now will save you a lot of hassle down the line.

Actions to take

Plan to pay off your mortgage: If you took out a mortgage young, you may be coming up to paying it off. If you are able some extra payments could get you there faster!

Review your retirement plan: Although you’re still a while off from retirement, things may have changed since you last looked at your retirement plan. Make sure you’re putting enough into your pension pot to allow your retirement dreams to become a reality. Consider cashflow planning as part of this, you can access our in-house cashflow tool when you work with one of the Greensky financial advisers!

Stay insured: Although you are still young and spritely, health issues are more likely as you get older so should be prepared for.

Consider private medical insurance: As health issues become more likely, private medical insurance can help to ensure you a have enough to pay for doctors’ appointments and treatment.

Schedule an appointment with your independent financial advisor: Seek professional advice when considering your financial planning strategy.

Things to avoid

Not putting yourself first: We don’t mean to let your family go hungry, but your children will be able to find more financial support for things like education than you will get when you retire. Put your own oxygen mask on first! This also includes building on your emergency fund, as your family grows so does the chance of a problem.

Stagnating in your job role: Keeping your workplace skills up to date will help you to maximise your career potential and get that salary raise! Stay skilled, up to date, and be an asset to your workplace.

Financial Advice for your 50s


The big milestone! If you’re lucky enough to have paid off a mortgage and debt, you are hopefully feeling pretty secure. Although it’s important to enjoy your money, it might be wise to put it towards a healthy nest egg that will see you through the next 30+ years of life!

Actions to take

Keep saving: Don’t be tempted to spend all that lovely money you’ve built up over the years! The time may come when you really need it, so although we don’t think you should live like a pauper, be mindful of excessive spending.

Avoid major new debt: For the same reason as above be very consider of accruing new debt at this point, such as new house or fancy sports car.

Taking out your pension too soon: You can access your pension from 55 onwards, but that doesn’t mean you should take it all right away. Leaving a pension to compound and grow is the smartest move.

Stay healthy: This might not seem like financial advice, but at this age you may experience more health problems, which can be expensive. Take care of yourself and your wallet!

Consider elderly parents: It is worth discussing your parents financial planning with your family, it’s not a fun topic but should be prepared for.

Things to avoid

Not evaluating your portfolio: Times change, and so do your investments. Speak to your financial adviser and assess your asset allocation!

Being too strict with your money: Although we thoroughly recommend considerate spending, now is the time to have some fun while you have stable income and your health! Enjoy this time, you deserve it.

Financial Advice for your 60s and beyond


You did it, you’ve made it to retirement (or at least a time when you can start to wind down). This is a time of life to reap the benefits of your hard work, and enjoy the pension you have spent your life building.

Actions to take

Keep doing what you’re doing: If you intend to stay working a little longer, continue to follow the advice laid out above.

Get organised: If you haven’t already, now is the time to organise your pensions and other investments. You may have had multiple pensions throughout your life, so it’s essential you have collated all this information and have a full understanding of your income.

Set yourself a budget: Related to the point above, you should create a budget for your expenditures, and understand how your ‘retired life’ will look compared to your ‘working life’.

Think about downsizing: Moving into a smaller home, especially when the kids have moved out, is a good way to save money that you can put towards other things like holidays and activities. Equity release is a good way to boost your income in later life, though you should always speak to a specialist adviser first!

Your will & power of attorney: If you haven’t already done so, it’s also important to set up Power of Attorney too. This means that, should you become incapacitated in some way, someone else can make important decisions (such as the healthcare you receive) on your behalf.

Estate planning: When you’re revising your will, thinking about care costs, and considering financial gifts, things can get very complicated when it comes to tax laws. That’s why it’s really important to speak to a Financial Advisor & Estate Planner in this decade of your life. Make sure you’re protecting your own financial future as well as being able to provide any legacy in the most tax-efficient way for your family (if you want your loved ones to avoid hefty Inheritance Tax bills). You can give your family members up to £3,000 each in any tax year (and if you didn’t give to them last year, you can use that allowance as well). You could also think about encouraging your children to set up Junior ISAs for your grandchildren.

Things to avoid

Investing in risky assets: If you intend to remain working and pay into your pension pot, it is worth reviewing the level of risk you are taking and adjust to slightly safer assets like bonds and cash.

Not understanding your pension: There are so many options when it comes to taking your pension, we strongly recommend talking to an Independent Financial Adviser to talk though all your options.

This article is for general use only and is not intended to address your particular requirements. It should not be relied upon in its entirety and shall not be deemed to be or constitute advice. The value of your investments can go down as well as up, so you could get back less than you invested.

GreenSky Wealth Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. FCA No. 629624. Registered Office as above. Registered in England and Wales, Company No. 07103441.