Four tips for setting realistic financial goals from your 20s to your 50s

17 April 2023 dot 4-minute read
Financial goals Plan Well Save and invest Healthy Finances Budgeting How to
You can avoid living pay cheque to pay cheque in your 20s with wise spending and saving decisions. (Credit: Shutterstock)
Your financial goals change with age. In your 20s, you may be motivated to save for trips with friends. When you hit 30, you may consider buying a house. By 40, your financial focus is on the future, your needs and those of your family.
You can better manage your financial obligations and achieve life goals with sound money habits. The following tips can help you navigate the financial milestones you want to hit in each decade.

1. Focus on cash flow in your 20s

You may not think about building wealth in your 20s if your income is low. But you can set yourself up for future financial success by prioritising two goals at this age – savings and insurance.

Build a habit of saving

Whatever budgeting framework you choose to follow, you may want to allot 10 to 20 per cent of your monthly income to an emergency fund.
In an interview with CNA, Chuin Ting Weber, CEO of MoneyOwl, a Singapore-based financial advisory and fund management firm, points out, "An emergency fund is the foundation of good financial health."

Acquire basic life and health insurance

After you have succeeded in saving six months' worth of living expenses, you may consider the next step of planning for life and health insurance. Purchasing insurance when you're younger locks premiums at a lower price than buying insurance later in life. Buying earlier also takes advantage of compound growth. For example, whole life insurance has a savings component that can grow over time.
"When you are in your 20s and 30s, really the big asset you have is time," says Erin Lowry, author of the Broke Millennial.
Ask your financial advisor about a savings insurance policy with an investment component. Some policies provide guaranteed returns, depending on the performance of your investments. AIA has a wide array of insurance products you can choose from depending on your needs and budget.
In your 30s, focus on paying off debt and consider passive income ideas to grow your money. (Credit: Shutterstock)

2. Grow your money in your 30s

Financial experts say your 30s is when you can capitalise on your peak earning power. Your financial situation at this age allows you to grow your money through investments.
Wealth managers on The Money Guy Show suggest putting money in a diversified portfolio to combat inflation. It is recommended to consult a certified financial planner to gauge your risk tolerance for investing. Stocks may have higher potential returns but also carry significant risk.
Your 40s are an excellent time to review how to earn more for your retirement income. (Credit: Shutterstock)

3. Save proactively for retirement in your 40s

Good financial habits in your 20s and 30s lay the groundwork for retirement planning in your 40s. How much money you will need for retirement depends on the lifestyle you wish to maintain. This stage is an excellent time to check if your cash savings and investment returns are enough for your nest egg.
You can further build your income with retirement insurance. Some policies can provide potential monthly dividends starting from your selected retirement age. This type of insurance can also help protect against inflation.

4. Focus on financial independence in your 50s

"My ideal retirement plan is if I want to work, I can work. If I want to take a break, I will take a break," says a Singaporean retiree featured by CNA in an online video report.
MoneyOwl's Weber says this is the picture of financial freedom that many people in their 50s hope to achieve. Hopefully, you've paid off your debts by your 50s and are maintaining a lifestyle that will not entail credit.
Taking charge of your financial wellbeing, whenever possible, is always a smart decision. First, find a good advisor to help you how to invest and improve your money management skills, regardless of age. Then, track your expenses and build a budgeting strategy you can maintain with consistency. Savings will help you achieve your financial goals, but knowing how to make your money work for you may reap great returns.
Having the choice to live the kind of life you want starts with a strong financial foundation. In this episode of AIA Voices, finance expert Anna Haotanto shares the six steps towards financial success.
AIA Voices is a community of influential and educational voices from around Asia to talk about life, health and wellness. A platform to educate, motivate and inspire people to make positive behavioural changes on their health and wellness journey. Providing an opportunity for communities across Asia to connect, collaborate, and learn from each other. Designed to drive AIA One Billion, our ambition to engage a billion people to live Healthier, Longer, Better Lives by 2030.
CNA Insider. 2021. Am I Planning Right For Retirement, Even In A Recession? For Ages 30+ and 40+. [online] [Accessed on 29 November 2022]
CNA Insider. 2021. Planning Right For Retirement, When You're In Your 50s (And In A Recession). [online] [Accessed on 29 November 2022]
The Money Guy Show. 2022 Financial Planning 101 (By Age) - The Complete Guide to Winning Financially. [online] [Accessed on 29 November 2022]
Moneysense. 2018. Financial goals at different life stages. [online] [Accessed on 29 November 2022]
Time. 2020. Here’s How Much Money You Should Have Saved at Every Age. [online] [Accessed on 29 November 2022]
Moneysense, 2018. Determine your retirement needs. [online] [Accessed on 29 November 2022]

This is general information only and is not intended as financial, medical, health, nutritional or other advice. You should obtain professional advice from a financial adviser, or medical or health practitioner in relation to your own personal circumstances.

Related articles