FORT LEE, Va. (September 2, 2010)-Your life can be shaped by the financial decisions you make. Should you take out a 15- or 30-year loan on a new home? How much life insurance is enough? Do you have enough money for retirement?

It’s a daunting task to make the right financial choices – and knowing when to act on those decisions can be just as tough. Here’s a look at some financial steps to consider during key stages of your life.

Ages 25-40

Many things could happen during these 15 years. You could buy a home. Get married. Start a family. Finish a master’s program. Secure your first “real” job.

Your Financial Needs

• Consider life insurance for mortgage protection.

• If you have children, you may want to invest in a 529 college savings plan.

• Start saving for retirement early. If there’s a plan at work, consider joining as soon as possible or look at the benefits of a Roth IRA.

• Begin saving those pennies in an emergency fund – it’s a good idea to have enough savings for three to six months of living expenses.

Ages 40-50

Your children are getting older and may soon be off to college. Maybe you got a well-deserved promotion at the place you’ve worked for 10 years, or moved into the home of your dreams.

Your Financial Needs

• Reconsider that 529 college savings plan – if your children haven’t started college yet, it’s not too late.

• Explore your insurance options to help protect your finances if you’re injured and can’t work or have to enter a nursing home.

• Consider adding additional life insurance to your financial portfolio.

Ages 50-55

These may be your best earning years. Your kids are on their own. Retirement is on the horizon. Dream vacations may become a reality.

Your Financial Needs

• Plan for retirement – IRAs and annuities are time-tested retirement vehicles.

• Contact an attorney to write a will; consider with your insurance agent other estate-planning options.

• Update your paperwork and organize your file cabinet.

Ages 55-65

You’re either counting the days to retirement or already retired. You may receive your first Social Security payment and can withdraw money tax-free from traditional IRAs.

Your Financial Needs

• Sign up for Medicare three months before the month you turn age 65.

• Draw up a new budget for retirement spending.

• Manage your money with options like single premium deferred or single premium immediate annuities.

Age 65 and older

You’ve made it to retirement. Even if you’ve planned well for this stage of your life, there are several key milestones to keep in mind.

Your Financial Needs

• Consider deferring your Social Security payments to age 70.

• Receive the required minimum distributions from traditional IRAs or employer-sponsored retirement plans at age 70 and a half.

• Consider life insurance for estate settlement costs.

Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t know where to start? How about getting educated on financial matters so you can get a handle on your financial future?

The Army Career and Alumni Program is offering aComplete Financial Management Workshop Sept. 18, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. The topics will include risk management, cash management, investment concepts, tax management, retirement planning and estate conservation. Registration is required and space is limited. Call ACAP at 734-6612 or stop by the center located in the Soldier Support Center, 1401 B Ave, building 3400, Room 126 to reserve a space today.