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3 financials to check on your birthday

Allen Wastler

Posted on August 17, 2022

Allen Wastler is a former financial journalist with over 30-years of experience, including time at CNBC, CNN, and Knight-Ridder Newspapers.
Man with family in kitchen blowing out candles on a birthday cake
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This article will .. 

Remind you about the importance of retirement savings.

Note that a person's investment mix should change with age.

Point out that often beneficiary designations get overlooked with time.

Happy Birthday! Another year gone by and, with hope, it had some good times and achievements to look back on.

No doubt the day is more about celebrating than obligations. It’s not a day for doing a full-blown mid-year financial check or prepping for benefits sign-up season. But, still, it might be worth quickly checking on three things while getting ready to blow out the candles.

Retirement status

Retirement may be far away for some, and closer for others. But no matter how far off, today marks a day you are one year closer to it. So, it may be worthwhile to check your progress on a retirement calculator. Sure, you may have done it before, but this time at least one of the numbers — your age — has changed.

And that might prompt some considerations for you, like are you taking full advantage of your employer’s retirement plans, typically a 401(k), and any matching contributions it offers? Or have you hit 50, the age where you can take advantage of catch-up options in retirement savings? Or perhaps you are approaching the time when Social Security planning is in order?

Investment mix

Many people planning for retirement or just looking to improve their financial position maintain investment portfolios. Typically, these are a mix of stocks and bonds, but can involve other types of investments as well.

But all investments involve some degree of risk that they will not provide any returns or even lose their entire value.

Generally, when it comes to investment portfolios, the common wisdom is that younger people can afford to take more risk, since they have time to make up any losses that should come with it. But older folks should consider putting more of their savings into more conservative holdings, since their non-working days are approaching.

There are all sorts of rules of thumb about what kind of mix to have at what age. But, in the end, it comes down to personal preference.

So now that you are a year older, what’s your preference? Do you want to shift some of your holdings into more conservative vehicles? (Learn more: Asset allocation)


Did the year have any major life changes for you? Get married? Or divorced? How about children?

All these events may prompt you to consider changes to your finances, like purchasing life insurance or starting college funds.

But these events also may necessitate changing beneficiaries on existing holdings, like investment and bank accounts, life insurance policies, and the like. Remember, most beneficiary designations will take precedence over other estate documents, even wills. (Related: Beneficiary mistakes)


These are just three quick things think about. You could just make them part of an annual meeting with your financial professional.

Because it’s your birthday, obviously, it’s about you. So have a little fun or do something for yourself. And best wishes from MassMutual.

Learn more from MassMutual….

Divorce and life insurance

Estate planning: 5 big mistakes

Mutual fund and ETF basics

This article was originally published in August 2018. It has been updated.


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The information provided is not written or intended as specific tax or legal advice. MassMutual, its employees and representatives are not authorized to give tax or legal advice. You are encouraged to seek advice from your own tax or legal counsel. Opinions expressed by those interviewed are their own, and do not necessarily represent the views of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company.