Retirement and Estate Planning: A Simple Guide for Different Life Stages

Did you know that only 46% of Americans have retirement savings? The time to plan is now.

Retirement and legacy planning can seem daunting. But with some practical steps tailored to your current life stage, you can secure your finances for the future while still enjoying the present. 

This guide will walk you through key considerations for retirement and estate planning, whether you’re just starting out, hitting your peak earning years, or looking ahead to your golden years. 

You’ll learn how to provide for your loved ones, achieve your retirement dreams, and ultimately—feel empowered to live more fully today. Let’s get started!

Early Career (20s to Early 30s)

When you’re just starting out, focusing on retirement may feel premature. But the financial decisions you make in your 20s and 30s can pay off for decades to come. This information is provided by M Wealth Group.

  • Risk and Investing: The earlier you start investing, the more time your money has to grow. In your 20s, you can afford to take more risks and potentially see bigger rewards later. Don’t be intimidated by investing just because you have little money to spare at the moment. Set aside a percentage of your income each month to invest in retirement and other opportunities.
  • Making More Money: Find creative ways to supplement your income to supercharge your ability to save and invest. Explore side gigs, passive income streams, raises, and promotions at work, and take advantage of your 401k match, if you get one.

Mid-Career (Mid 30s to 50s)

As you hit your peak earning years, you can accelerate retirement preparations to maximize this financial sweet spot. Careful planning now makes a huge impact down the road.

  • Managing Risks: With more assets saved, assess your risk tolerance. Keep track of all your investments, and increase your savings.
  • Smarter Investing: Explore more investments like rental properties, private real estate deals and other assets to continue growing your net worth. Consider using permanent life insurance to fund big expenses like purchasing a home. They accumulate a cash value that you can borrow against. 
  • Increasing Income: From rental income to side businesses, multiple income streams give financial flexibility now and into retirement. 
  • Estate Planning: Start estate planning how to pass on your assets and possessions. Update your will spelling out who inherits what. Assign financial and medical power of attorney to trusted individuals. Make clear written instructions for your important belongings and what legacy you want to leave behind.

Getting Ready to Retire (Late 50s to Retirement)

With retirement on the horizon, it’s time to get your finances in order. The moves you make now can help fund your ideal retirement lifestyle.

  • Managing Risks: As you near retirement, it’s often wise to adjust your risk levels to protect the retirement account you’ve built. In retirement years, permanent life insurance policies can provide tax-free income to you as well as a tax-free death benefit for loved ones.
  • Balancing Investments: Ensure you have a healthy ratio of assets that fit for you. Rebalance your portfolio to produce income and manage risk.
  • Guaranteed Income Options: Annuities and insurance products let you lock in fixed payments for life. Review which options deliver the best payout for you with a financial planner.
  • Estate Planning: Revisit how you plan to pass on assets and possessions. Review trusts, wills, powers of attorney, and medical directives, making any needed updates.

After Retirement

Congratulations, you made it! As you embrace retired life, some final money moves will help you live comfortably and leave a lasting legacy.

  • Keeping Money Safe: You likely have decades left, so resist investments that can’t keep pace with inflation. You still want to protect your money but grow without putting it at risk. 
  • Using Life Insurance in Later Years: Life insurance policies now protect loved ones while serving as “longevity insurance” against outliving savings. Payout options provide steady income too.
  • Investing for Retirement Income: A good financial professional can help you create an income plan for retirement.
  • Optimizing Fixed Income Sources: Make the most of pensions, social security, annuities, and insurance payouts to cover essential costs. 
  • Estate Planning: Finalize estate plan, wills, and trusts. Communicate clear inheritance, possessions, funeral, and legacy instructions.

The key is balancing safety today with growth in the long run. We’ll ensure your hard-earned money continues working for you in retirement.


Planning for retirement and legacy financial needs can seem overwhelming. But breaking it down into tailored steps for each life stage makes the process manageable.

The key is to revisit your plans as your life and career evolve continually. Regularly review your risk tolerance, investment mix, life insurance policies, income streams, and estate plans to optimize them for where you are now while keeping your long-term goals in sight.

Small yet strategic money moves made consistently over time can transform your financial future. The compound growth from starting early and maximizing each life milestone pays exponential dividends down the road—helping you live abundantly today while being prepared for tomorrow.

Ultimately, intentional retirement and estate preparation allow you to feel financially secure, pass on your legacy, and focus on what matters most day-to-day. It’s about finding freedom and peace of mind through every stage of life’s journey.

For further professional support in developing or updating your plan, contact the retirement planning specialists at M Wealth Group.