Here’s what you should be doing in your 20s, 30s and 40s to retire wealthy, says money expert

1. Continue living within your means

For most of us, the older we get, the more vulnerable we become to lifestyle creep, which is the gradual increase of our spending as our wage increases.

According to Sarah Stanley Fallaw, co-author of “The Next Millionaire Next Door: Enduring Strategies for Building Wealth,” two of the strongest qualities of millionaires are resilience and perseverance — both of which play a big role in helping them avoid lifestyle creep.

If you’re looking to make big purchases, like a house or car, review your financial situation and make sure you set a reasonable budget. Also, weigh pros and cons and think about whether you really need an upgrade. Millionaires rarely spend more than 30% of their income on housing, Fallaw notes in the book.

She adds, “Keeping housing costs low is smart, no matter how much money you have. The best financial move you can make is to literally move to a less expensive home. “

2. Teach your kids about money

It’s easy to get financially off track in your 40s and 50s, especially if you have children.

According to Merrill Lynch‘s 2018 “Financial Journey of Modern Parenting” report, 79% of the 2,500 American parents surveyed provided financial support (i.e., food, student loans, school, cell phone, vacation and housing expenses) to their adult children (ages 18 to 34).

Seventy-two percent said they put their children’s interests ahead of their own need to save for retirement and regret not teaching their children about money at a young age.

Obviously, you’ll need to support your children in their early stages, but making sure they have a strong financial education can help prevent your retirement savings from getting derailed. Make it a habit to speak openly about family finances and equip them with financial tools, like a savings and checking account.

3. Take care of your health

Technically, you should always be prioritizing your health. But as we age, we’re more prone to developing health issues.

According to a 2018 Gallup survey, nearly 44% of U.S. adults said they were worried about not being able to pay medical costs in the event of a serious illness or accident.

While healthy living can’t prevent all health conditions, it can significantly improve your chances of avoiding issues like diabetes and heart disease, thus saving thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses for treatment.

Jim Brown is a financial consultant and the founder of Jim Brown Investing. With more than 30 years of expertise in the financial industry, Jim has been interviewed on Yahoo! Finance TV, the So Money Podcast with Farnoosh Torabi, KFNN Money Radio and U.S. News World Report. He is also the co-author of Financial Statement Fraud Casebook: Baking the Ledgers and Cooking the Books. “ Follow him on LinkedIn.

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