A financial adviser told us the best money tips for every decade of your life.

Thanks to our brand partner, Zurich

Financial literacy is one of the most important life skills a person can develop — especially for women. Your independence, and your quality of life depends on it. 

In an ideal world, learning about money would start in childhood, but according to Zurich Assure's Principal Financial Adviser, Kirsten Genter, it’s never too late to start. 

"The earlier you start, the better, but it’s never too late to make small changes to improve your financial position, like putting a percentage of your income into a savings account every pay-day," Genter says. 

"Never underestimate the value of making smart everyday financial decisions. Ideally, we should start making smart financial decisions the minute we start to earn an income. But if you’re well past your teenage years and you haven’t started, it’s not too late."

If you’re not sure where to start, Genter shares her top tips for financial wellness at any decade.

In your 20s. 

"In your twenties, the best place to start is by improving your financial literacy," Genter says. 

"Use free resources like ASIC’s Moneysmart website to educate yourself about budgeting, saving, investing, superannuation and life insurance."

The next step is to put a budget in place and start a regular savings plan. The Moneysmart website has a budget planner tool to help you work out where your money is going.  

"Awareness is key! Once you know where your money is going, you can work out how much money should be left over at the end of each pay cycle so you can set up an automatic transfer to a savings account."


The other thing to consider in your twenties when you’re young and healthy is income protection insurance. Life insurers offer income protection insurance, which will replace a portion of your income if you get sick or injured and cannot work. 

"Your income is your greatest asset, so it’s important to make sure you don’t lose that income if something unexpected happens. Insurance can be tricky, so I recommend speaking to a financial adviser who can help you tailor a policy to your needs, such as the team at Zurich Assure."

In your 30s. 

Your thirties can be an expensive time in life because many of us have a mortgage and/or a young family to take care of. 

"This is the time to review your life insurance needs with a financial adviser to make sure your family and dependants are taken care of if something happens to you," Genter says.

"For example, Trauma insurance provides a lump sum to help you cover medical costs if you are diagnosed with a serious illness, like cancer. A financial adviser will work with you to ensure all scenarios and all family members are considered."

You are probably also earning a higher income than you were in your twenties, so your Income Protection insurance should be adjusted to reflect that.

A financial adviser can also help you with bigger financial decisions like investing in property, shares or managed funds. 

"While these types of investments can be volatile over short periods, you can earn a higher return over the long term compared to a cash savings account. There are so many investment options available, and lots of scams."


Seeking professional financial advice will help you avoid all the potential pitfalls.

In your 40s. 

When you get to your forties, it’s time to start thinking about superannuation. 

"If you can afford it, consider salary sacrificing a portion of every pay into your superannuation fund," Genter says. 

"It’s a great way to save for retirement, because the money is put straight into your superannuation fund by your employer without you having to lift a finger.

"You might save yourself some tax, and you will have more money to live a better a life in retirement."

Your forties can also be a time of multiple financial responsibilities. You might have purchased an investment property or upsized your home to cater for a bigger family. 

"Review your life insurance with a financial adviser to ensure your family isn’t left short if something happens to you."

If you are self-employed, there is even more to consider. For example, if you can’t work for a period, will your business need an injection of cashflow to replace lost income and pay the bills until you recover and get back to work? If you run your own business and you haven’t considered these scenarios, talk to a financial adviser to make sure both your family and your business are suitably covered.

As a rule of thumb, Genter says you should review your life insurance every two to three years, or sooner if there’s a major change in your circumstances.


In your 50s. 

In your fifties, your financial position may start to improve. 

"Typically, you will have less debt, and your children are getting older and less dependent on you," Genter says. 

"This is the time to get serious about superannuation! If you haven’t already done so, start regularly contributing to your fund. It’s also a good time to talk to a financial adviser about your plans to make sure you’re on track to achieve a comfortable retirement."

ASIC’s Financial Advisers Register can help you find a financial adviser in your local area.

"As you get older, your life insurance cover will be more expensive. Now is the time to consider reducing your cover so that you’re not paying a fortune for cover you may no longer need."

In your 60s. 

Hello semi-retirement! 

"If you’re going to reduce your work hours or consider stopping work altogether, it’s a good idea to talk to a financial adviser who can help you make all those big decisions with clarity and peace of mind," Genter says. 

"An annual review with a financial adviser will ensure you remain on track to achieve your goals while guiding you through any bumps in the road, like investment market volatility."

If you are drawing on your superannuation to fund retirement, now is the time to think about adjusting how your money is invested.

"In your twenties to forties, your superannuation is mostly invested in assets like property and shares that can be volatile over short periods but provide positive returns for the future," Genter says. 


"In your sixties, maintaining some exposure to these investments is critical so that your superannuation nest egg lasts as long as possible."

However, balance is key, says Genter, so it’s also wise to consider some more conservative investments for financial stability.

In your 70s. 

By the time you get to your seventies, hopefully you are enjoying the comfortable retirement that you worked so hard for. 

"You might also be considering downsizing your home or planning for the next phase of life which might include aged care," Genter says. 

"Continue to review your financial situation with a financial adviser annually so that they can help you navigate all of life’s major decisions."

If you haven’t already done so, speak to a solicitor to put a Will in place so that your wishes are followed in the event of death. A Power of Attorney is also a good idea so that you have someone to help you make financial and medical decisions if you’re not up to it.

Any general advice in this article has been provided by Zurich Assure Australia Pty Limited ABN 58 657 804 736, AFSL 538863 (Zurich Assure). This information does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider these factors and the appropriateness of the information to you. Consider seeking advice specific to your individual circumstances from an appropriate professional.

Feature Image: Getty.

You should also consider any relevant Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determination. Please read Zurich Assure’s Financial Services Guide for information about the financial services they offer and the financial products they relate to as well as how they are remunerated.