It’s never too late to learn, but where your future financial well-being is concerned, sooner is better than later, says Pieter Willem Moolman.

So with that said, your education in financial planning and investment options is about to start.

Your twenties is a crucial decade in your investment education. You might not necessarily have the funds to put away large sums of money, but from 20 onwards it’s a good idea to come in from the financial planning wilderness and learn a few new moneymaking tricks.

By putting a few bucks away in your twenties you get used to a savings culture. Every little bit gets you into the game and teaches you more about where your money’s going and what you should be doing.

Between the ages of 20 and 25 you should be putting at least 10 percent of your salary away for retirement.

In your thirties, when saving for holidays, home extensions and other minor short-term goals, unit trusts remain the way to go.

At this time in your life you should be starting to look a little further ahead. A bigger home might soon be required, or the future educational needs of your children might soon become a priority.

In your thirties you should be looking at 20% of your salary.

Like the middle stages of a Test innings, when the bowlers are toiling and the scoreboard is ticking over but you have lost a few key wickets, it is best to consolidate in your forties. Look at the runs on the board, assess the situation and build on what you have.

A rash stroke will get you and your team in trouble. It is time to execute your next move with a little thought.

When you reach your forties and your lifecycle and earnings take you into the higher net income categories, you will probably consider a lump sum investment.

Ask yourself what the purpose is. Is it to generate income for a later life stage when you have retired or is it to buy your retirement dream holiday house?

By the time you reach your fifties, you want to consolidate your portfolio. Now is not the time to start taking risks, but rather to keep a tight rein on where your money is going.

Start looking at where you are putting your money at least five years before you hang up your boots. When you retire, you do not want to be left short.

Building your retirement income (the money that will replace what used to be your monthly salary) is essential at this stage of your financial planning. Capital preservation is your goal and most investors would adopt a more conservative approach.

Start looking at your portfolios. You do not want to lose what you have built through unnecessary risky investments.

Throughout every decade there are guidelines to follow. The earlier you start educating yourself about your finances, the better.

You cannot make decisions for your future based on talk around the braai. Get a good financial advisor; someone you can trust.

Pieter Willem Moolman is the owner of PWM Financial Management in Port Elizabeth. Visit or phone 041 582 3034.