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From 0–100: financial planning decade by decade

Make sure you and your family have financial security through every stage of life.

3 min read


No matter your age, it’s always important to keep on top of your finances – but for different reasons as you get older. Whether you’re buying your first home, planning to start a family or saving for retirement, here are just some of the financial planning pinch points that come up throughout your life – for you and those close to you to think about.

0–10: The early years

Parents or grandparents can put up to £325,000 into a trust for you with no immediate need to pay inheritance tax. Couples can combine their allowances, making a total of £650,000.

As strange as it seems, you could also start saving for your retirement. Any parent or legal guardian can set up a pension for a child, which will automatically transfer to them when they turn 18. You can’t touch the money until you are at least 55, but as your elders will tell you the years will fly by!


10–20: Growing up

It’s during these years that most of us start thinking about money. You’re likely to open your first bank account and start your first job, whether it’s the beginning of a full-time career or just making extra money around your studies at school and university.

If you do start working, it’s a good idea to take advantage of any workplace pension schemes. By saving into a pension fund early on in life, you could benefit from compound returns on even modest amounts you put aside.

From the age of 16 you can start saving tax-efficiently in a cash ISA, and when you turn 18, you can set up an adult stocks and shares ISA. This is a flexible and straightforward way to invest tax efficiently.

It’s quick and easy to set up a stocks and shares ISA online these days, with a number of platforms providing a straightforward service. For example, if you have Coutts Online Banking it only takes a few minutes to get started using the Coutts Invest ISA.

The Coutts Invest ISA gives you access to our investment expertise through a range of five Personal Portfolio Funds. And we’re currently running a special offer on it. Use Coutts Invest to take advantage of your annual ISA allowance or transfer existing ISAs and you’ll get 1% cashback on your qualifying contributions made before the end of September 2019 (terms and conditions apply.)

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“You legally have to insure your car. You almost certainly insure your house. Why wouldn’t you insure your most important asset – yourself?”

20–30: Entering adulthood

During your twenties, you may want to get on the property ladder. Rising prices mean it’s becoming more and more difficult to buy on  a starting level salary in even professional careers, and this is when the ‘bank of mum and dad’ can come in handy.

This includes taking out a guarantor mortgage, which is in your name but guaranteed by your parents, meaning you could borrow more than you might have based only on your own funds. The property is joint-owned by you and your parents, and you are both equally responsible for the mortgage repayments.

In addition, some offset mortgages allow third-parties to add their own balances to funds offsetting mortgage debts, potentially reducing the amount of interest charged against a loan. The Coutts Offset Select mortgage, for example, lets parents or other relatives that bank with Coutts tie their cash balances to your Coutts mortgage, meaning your regular repayments could be lower or that you pay your mortgage off more quickly.


30–40: Settling down

As you enter the next phase of your life, you may be thinking about getting married. The average wedding in the UK now costs more than £30,000, according to’s National Wedding Survey 2018, so it’s important to think about how you’ll pay for it.

People often decide to start a family during this decade, too. So, you’ll want to think about some of the things we already discussed for your own early years – saving for school and university fees, setting up a trust and contributing to a pension for your children.

As your household grows, it’s sensible to seek professional advice on how to protect your family’s financial future. After all, you legally have to insure your car. You almost certainly insure your house. Why wouldn’t you insure your most important asset – yourself?

This obviously includes life insurance but you could also consider critical illness insurance and income protection, in case illness or an accident means you can’t work.


40–50: Safety and security

At this stage of your life, it’s essential to look carefully at your pension. Following the introduction of new legislation over the past few years, there is now no good reason not to maximise your annual pension contributions. The upfront tax relief provides an efficient way to preserve and help grow your money for later life, and pass on your benefits to your loved ones after you die.

Don’t forget your other tax-efficient options for saving – a pension fund should be just one part of retirement planning. For example, you should make sure you’re making full use of your ISA allowance - £20,000 for the 2019/20 tax year. It may also be a good time to set up a family trust to manage and help protect your family’s assets.

If you haven’t already done so, this also could be a good time to make a will to make sure your family is financially secure when you’re no longer around.


50–60: Taking a step back

If you own your own business, you may be thinking about taking a step back at this point in your life – or even considering a sale. It’s important to have a plan in place that considers both your business and personal finances.

You may also want to give something back through philanthropy. This is a good opportunity to bring your family together and discuss your shared ideals and values and how you can preserve them in the years ahead.


60–70: Time to retire

When the time comes to access your pension fund, it’s sensible to take a wider look at your overall financial position. It’s also a good cue for you to review your pension investment strategy and explore your options, such as:

  • putting off taking your pension in the initial years, especially if you intend to keep working
  • phased withdrawals that match your changing needs for income
  • consolidating pension plans into a single scheme


70–80: Transferring your wealth

Things start to come full circle now. Just as your parents or grandparents may have helped you, during this decade you may be focusing on putting money aside for the next generation – perhaps paying their school fees or helping them buy their first home.


80–90: Accounting for all eventualities

It’s important to make sure you have enough money to cover any unexpected care costs. Having a plan in place could provide comfort and financial security for your family during a potentially difficult time.


90–100, and beyond: Taking stock

Many of us alive today will still be going strong as we reach our century. What will your financial needs be then? Are you sure your wealth will endure to support you and provide for your family over the ensuing generations?

It’s impossible to predict how our world might be in the next hundred years. All we can know is that there will be opportunities to be grasped and challenges to be overcome. Having sound financial plans will prove an invaluable tool for both.

Could Coutts help you?

Find out how Coutts could help you with your life-long financial planning. Speak to your private banker, look around or call Coutts 24 on 020 7957 2424. Fees may apply to some services.

Key Takeaways

Trusts, pensions, wills, mortgages, ISAs. Each financial planning tool is important, but they often take centre-stage at different times in your life. It’s worth taking the time to think about what you will need to focus on and when.

Coutts could help with our extensive range of flexible products and services – often tailored to your specific needs.

Tax reliefs referred to are those applying under current legislation, which may change. The availability and value of any tax reliefs will depend on your individual circumstances.

Your home or property may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. Over-18s only. Terms and conditions apply. You may not be eligible for all Coutts mortgage solutions. Security may be required.

The value of investments, and the income from them, can go down as well as up, and you may not recover the amount of your original investment.