As the summer comes to an end and we head into the fall, a parallel can be drawn between the seasons of weather and the seasons of money. Just as you have spring, summer, fall and winter, there are four financial seasons of life that include accumulation, preservation, distribution and succession. Approaching your finances with these four seasons in mind can help to keep you on track toward reaching your long-term financial goals.
An article titled “The four seasons of financial planning,” as published in the Las Vegas Review Journal, explained the four “financial seasons” of life, which can help you see where you are now and what you need to do in the future. Understanding the change of seasons and how to handle your money will ultimately determine if you are successful in attaining or exceeding your long-term financial goals.
The original article offers important financial planning tips to guide you through the four seasons of your financial life:
1) Accumulation Season – ages 20 to 55. This typically is the longest financial season and what you do here financially really sets you up for the rest of your life. This time should be spent accumulating wealth to lay your financial foundation. Set your financial objectives and begin to save and invest. Remember to leverage your employer-sponsored retirement plan, open a brokerage account, and do all you can to save, grow, and keep your hard-earned savings for the seasons to follow.
2) Preservation Season – ages 55 to 65. The key here is to protect the money you have worked to save for retirement. An important part of this strategy is to assess your risk tolerance—the amount of variability in your investment returns you can take before cashing out. Can you sit still and watch an investment go up and down without panicking and selling at the wrong time? The answer to this question measures how comfortable you are with risk. Typically, people here should be more conservative with their investment dollars.
3) Distribution Season – ages 65+. At this stage your concern is that you have the type of income planning that will bring you the greatest return on investment on your financial savings. Tax liabilities in retirement and when you withdraw from retirement savings are also very important considerations.
4) Succession Season – after your death. The last season is one for which you can only plan—that is, what do you want to do with your assets after you pass away? As we have heard, without the help of a qualified estate planning attorney, your estate may not transfer as you desire and even cause family conflicts.
Your financial legacy will be dependent on how well you lived the seasons mentioned here. Regardless where you are in your life, you should talk to an estate planning attorney and get the advice you need to have the best strategies in place for your situation.