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Financial planning in your twenties, thirties and forties

Financial planning in the early stages of your life is something that is often overlooked and neglected due to other priorities. It is however important to get your finances in order before the time slips away. This aims to provide you with an insight into financial planning through the decades and how it may change in your twenties, thirties and forties.


For many people their twenties come with one huge financial planning plus – no children. If you’re what used to be known as a DINKY (dual income, no kids yet) then it makes sense to take advantage of it. 

Of course, having a sizeable student loan to repay may well make it harder to find any spare cash, but making a start on saving for your retirement will pay huge dividends later on in life.

It may not sound much fun to think about a pension as you contemplate nights out and luxury holidays abroad, which is perhaps why more than six million Brits have not saved any money at all for their retirement years*. But with the vast majority of people now set to retire at 65 or later, money invested in your twenties will have the best part of 40 years to grow and benefit from the tax advantages that pensions enjoy.

It’s also important to start saving for the deposit on your first home. Mortgage lenders have toughened up their lending criteria considerably over the past few years and the more deposit you can put down on your first home, the better mortgage rate you’ll be able to obtain.


Your thirties can be a tough time financially, especially if starting a family means that one partner isn’t working, or only working part-time. Perhaps the most sensible advice is to try and avoid debt building up – but if it is unavoidable, keep an eye on the interest rate you’re paying and try and pay off ‘expensive’ debt (such as credit cards) first.  

There may well be other demands on your finances too; having children is a good reason to start thinking about protecting what you have. Looking at how a spouse/partner/child will cope financially in the event of your death or if you can no longer work due to ill health is not something anyone particularly relishes, but it is important to plan for the unexpected. 

If you’re in a company pension then your contributions will automatically be deducted from your wages – however, if you’re not,  or you’re self-employed, then it is vital that you start to make some pension contributions at this stage in your life. Be sure to enquire with your work place about auto enrolment. This new law means that every employer must automatically enrol workers into a workplace pension scheme if they meet certain criteria. This started first with very large firms and is being rolled out to smaller firms over the next couple of years. 

It’s also a good idea to start working with a financial adviser to regularly review your finances – for example, to make sure you have the most competitive mortgage and that your pension is on track to give you the retirement you’ll ultimately want. 

Making use of your ISA allowances is a good way of saving money. Individual Savings Accounts are tax efficient in that you protect your savings and investments from paying tax on any interest, income or gains made.


The good news as you enter your forties is that you’ll now be approaching your peak earning years. The chances are that you’ll still have children at home and a mortgage to pay, but now is the time to be increasing your pension and savings contributions and cutting down on debt.

These are the years when good financial planning can make a tremendous difference to your long-term prosperity. It may not feel like many years have passed since you were in your twenties – and sadly, it won’t be that long until you’re retiring, so efficient and effective planning becomes ever more important.

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Date issued: 05.08.15

Please remember any views or facts expressed above are based on information received from a variety of sources which we believe to be reliable, but are not guaranteed as to accuracy or completeness. Any expressions of opinion are subject to change without notice. None of the information should be regarded as advice. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results. Investing involves risk and the value of investments and the income from them may fall as well as rise and is not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the original amount invested. Any tax treatment is dependant upon individual client circumstances and may be subject to change.

Sanlam is a trading name of Sanlam Wealth Planning UK Limited (Reg. in England 3879955) and English Mutual Limited (Reg. in England 6685913). English Mutual Limited is an appointed representative of Sanlam Wealth Planning UK Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Registered Office: St. Bartholomew’s House, Lewins Mead, Bristol, BS1 2NH.

Investing involves risk and the value of investments and the income from them may fall as well as rise and are not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the original amount invested.