Age and experience have always played a role in how much money you'll earn and spend. Younger Americans tend to earn less money, and they may have to scrimp and save for big purchases. But money doesn't get less complicated as you get older.
Age still influences all your major financial decisions, and you may have more responsibilities as you work toward retirement. Here are three ways age can play a role in your financial future.
Mortgage considerations matter more at age 60+
Buying a new home is a costly endeavor for most people, even when you have a large nest egg. Most buyers don't have the liquid capital to pay for the entire home at closing.
When you're young, it's much easier to choose a loan period that offers you the lowest possible monthly payment. A 30-year-old purchasing a home with a 30-year fixed mortgage can do so with more confidence that he or she will live to see the mortgage paid off at the end of the term.
But because the average life expectancy in the U.S. is just over 78 years, a couple in their 60s will need to consider their age before buying a home. They risk leaving debt to their heirs if they can't pay off the mortgage. Here are a few options for this couple:
- Make a large down payment. The person who inherits the home will have less to pay off.
- Pay more toward the principal. The couple can simply pay more toward the mortgage principal each month to pay it off sooner.
- Buy a less-expensive home. This would come with a smaller mortgage that's easier to pay off quickly.
- Take out a shorter-term mortgage. A 10- or 15-year mortgage comes with higher monthly payments, but it can be paid off quicker.
A 2020 report from the National Association of Realtors found that more than 40% of all homebuyers are aged 56 and up, and most are taking out mortgages to purchase their homes. Additionally, around 34% of retirees overspend their retirement budget. So before buying the home, older homebuyers should consider whether they can afford the monthly payment.
Age impacts insurance costs
Once you hit 18, insurance becomes a fact of life. Car insurance, health insurance, homeowners insurance, and life insurance will all be part of the financial equation. Age plays a role in how much you pay for each type of policy.
For example, you'll pay the lowest car insurance rates in your 40s and 50s, but costs steadily rise once you hit age 65. Within 10 years, the average cost of insurance increases by $400 annually for seniors.
As you save for retirement and plan your budget, consider which insurance policies you'll need and how much they'll cost. A financial planner can help you here. You'll need to make sure your budget helps you comfortably ride through your retirement years.
Taking out a personal loan may be easier when you're older
A personal loan can help you cover emergency expenses, such as an unexpected medical bill or home repair.
It may be cheaper and easier to qualify for a personal loan later in life. As you age, a long history of open credit accounts and on-time payments help boost your credit scores. People over age 60 have the highest average credit score, at 749, while people in their 50s have an average credit score of 706.
A higher credit score can help you qualify for credit and get a lower interest rate. The average interest rate on a personal loan is about 10% to 12% for someone with an "excellent" credit score, which ranges from 720 to 850.
Maxime Rieman is Product Manager at ValuePenguin. Educating and assisting shoppers about financial products has been Rieman's focus, which led her to joining ValuePenguin, a consumer research and advice company based in New York. Previously, she was product marketing director at CoverWallet and launched the personal insurance team at NerdWallet.
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