Prepare for the unexpected - and expected

20 April 2018 | Investment principles


A way to help efficiently plan for your financial future is to focus on how  best to handle what are sometimes called life's financial turning points.

These might typically include getting your first job, buying your first home, raising a family and eventually retiring.

While any financial planning should take careful account of our unique circumstances, it should not be overlooked that many of us have the same broad financial experiences. Just think about the experiences of your friends of a similar age.

Perhaps open a new document on your computer and jot down 10 or 15 turning points that are ahead of you and think of how to deal with each to your advantage, and allow for some less anticipated or unexpected events along the way; this may convince you of the benefit of setting aside some contingency money if possible.

Being ready for financial turning points can assist you in concentrating on what really matters, like focusing on your long-term goals without the short term distractions of higher share market volatility for example.

Additionally, having financial turning points in mind may encourage you to save and invest in a more disciplined way.

Common turning points

These include earning your first pay, joining your first super fund, entering a personal relationship, buying your first (second or third) home, beginning to seriously invest, creating your first financial plan, raising children and eventually retiring.

Other turning points

These include losing your job, coping with serious illnesses in your family or the death of a spouse, overcoming a marriage breakdown, investing an inheritance, handling a sharp downturn in values of investment assets and perhaps downsizing to a small home after the children have left.

Your decisions at these times may make a significant difference to your long-term financial wellbeing.

Further reading: Life events and you, ASIC's consumer website MoneySmart.


Written by Robin Bowerman, Head of Corporate Affairs at Vanguard.
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Robin Bowerman, Head of Corporate Affairs at Vanguard Australia, shares investment and personal finance insights gained from over two decades in the finance industry as writer, commentator and editor.

Robin Bowerman