News and Commentary

You’re Never too Young to Begin Estate Planning By Jessica Pendergraft, CFP®*

Planning for retirement is often the last thing recent college graduates will think about upon entering the job market and earning a steady income. However, there is no minimum age for individuals to start thinking about saving for the future, whether it is for the purchase of a new car or home, to support a growing family, or even to plan for one’s golden years. Following are some issues and estate-planning strategies that individuals should consider during every age and stage of their lives.

In your 20s

As soon as you secure a job out of college, you should begin laying the foundation for a solid financial future. This often involves acquiring or building budgeting skills to help you stretch the
value of your starting salary enough to cover your bills, including rent and utilities, and begin paying down student loans. At the same time, individuals who are just out of college may consider setting aside a portion of their paychecks to begin building an emergency fund of three- to six-months of living expenses. When unexpected expenses arise, such as needed car repairs, a security deposit for a rental apartment or tickets for a can’t-miss event, twentysomethings with an emergency fund can be better prepared to cover those expenses without missing a beat.

While retirement may seem like light-years away, it is not something that individuals in their twenties should ignore completely. Many employers offer 401(k) retirement plans that allow their workers to automatically defer a portion of their pre-tax earnings to save for the future. In some instances, businesses will supplement workers’ savings with an employer “match,” which can be  likened to free money. Some innovative businesses also have programs that apply the 401(k) concept to help workers’ make automatic student loan payments through their paychecks. At a minimum, young workers should aim to save enough to qualify for their employer’s match and maximize those additional dollars.

In your 30s

Getting married and beginning family planning is an ideal time for you to start thinking more seriously about the responsibilities you may have to your spouse and children. In addition to maximizing contributions to 401(k)s and other retirement plans, thirtysomethings should consider investing in growth opportunities for the future, including establishing 529 savings plans to pay  for children’s private K through 12 schooling and/or future college education and establishing trusts to pay for a special-needs child’s ongoing care. During this decade, you should begin facing  life’s realities and meeting with financial planners to develop estate plans that consider how you will support your dependents in the event of an untimely passing. This can include creating a will, power of attorney and health care directive; retitling assets to protect you from creditors; and exploring the benefits of disability and life insurance policies.

In your 40s

At the age of 40, most individuals are settled in their careers and are making more money or taking steps to reinvent themselves and start a new business. During this decade, expenses may increase as you spend more on cars, homes and family vacations. At the same time, retirement will seem a lot closer. With increased income comes greater opportunities to help improve investment performance and maximize tax efficiency for optimal savings. Therefore, turning 40 is a good time to review and update existing estate plans.

In addition to funding a child’s college savings, replenishing emergency funds and reducing debt, forty-somethings should have a nice cushion saved in their retirement accounts. Financial planners have the experience to help assess your current circumstances and develop detailed plans to help you achieve your intended financial and legal goals.

In your 50s

By the time you turn 50, you can hope that your career and financial success have yielded increased financial security and discretionary income. However, with retirement closer than ever, it is  important that you stay the course with the financial plans you already have in place while allowing some flexibility to enjoy the fruits of your labor. During this age, you might consider new  opportunities to diversify your portfolio and create additional sources of income to supplement your retirement savings and sustain you during your retirement years. This time is also ideal to start thinking about how you may leave a legacy for future generations through succession planning.

In your 60s

At the age of 60, you should be preparing to put your retirement plans into action. Now is the time to update ills and estate plans to reflect changes in circumstances, such as divorce, remarriage or the birth of a child or grandchild. It is also the time to finalize the details of how you will leave a lasting legacy for your family members and/or the charitable organizations and projects you hold  near and dear to your heart.

About the Author: By Jessica Pendergraft, CFP®, is a financial planner with Provenance Wealth Advisors, an Independent Registered Investment Advisor affiliated with Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors + CPAs and a registered representative with Raymond James Financial Services. She can be reached at the Firm’s Miami office at (954) 712-8888 or via email at

Provenance Wealth Advisors (PWA), 515 E. Las Olas Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301 (954) 712-8888.

Jessica Pendergraft, CFP®, is a registered representative of and offers securities through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisory Services  offered the Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc., and Provenance Wealth Advisors. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse the opinions or services of Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors + CPAs.

This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. Any opinions are those of the advisors of PWA and not necessarily  those of Raymond James. You should discuss any legal matters with the appropriate professional. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation.

Matching contributions from an employer may be subject to a vesting schedule. Please see the retirement plan documents and consult with a financial advisor for more information. The  information contained in this report does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. The information has been obtained from  sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein  will prove to be correct. 401(k) plans are long-term retirement savings vehicles. Withdrawal of pre-tax contributions and/or earnings will be subject to ordinary income tax and, if taken prior to  age 59 1/2, may be subject to a 10% federal tax penalty. As with other investments, there are generally fees and expenses associated with participation in a 529 plan. There is also a risk that these  plans may lose money or not perform well enough to cover college costs as anticipated. Most states offer their own 529 programs, which may provide advantages and benefits exclusively for their  residents. The tax implications can vary significantly from state to state. Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses associated with 529 plans before  investing. This and other information about 529 plans is available in the issuer’s official statement and should be read carefully before investing. Investors should consult a tax advisor  about any state tax consequences of an investment in a 529 plan. Investments mentioned may not be suitable for all investors.

* Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and federally registered CFP (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.

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Posted on May 19, 2022