As your life changes, your financial needs change as well, and so do the potential pitfalls you need to avoid. While most of us struggle with becoming financially independent in our 20s, entry-level jobs are plentiful and with no dependents, living costs are surprisingly low. Many young adults still live at home for part or all of this decade, so they have a built-in safety net if things go wrong. Fast forward a few decades and those same adults are faced with a mortgage and increased family responsibilities, and while most of us experience an increase in income over time, expenses and obligations rise as well.

The financial dilemmas you face will change over the years, looking back even a decade in your own life can reveal some surprising differences in both your priorities and responsibilities. Being aware of some of the most common pitfalls experienced by most adults in each decade can help you prepare and protect your assets and financial future.


We’ve assembled a list of some of the most common financial mistakes made by adults in each decade, so you can get an idea of what patterns to watch for in your own life. Your financial outlook, lifestyle, and priorities are unique, but getting an idea of what to look out for can prevent costly errors and make it easy for you to navigate the changes that come with age.

Here's a spotlight on each decade in detail in the days to come - and wrapping things up with some of the most common errors people make when they retire, too. Stop back each day to get fresh insight on what to expect in the years to come - and how to start protecting your financial future today, too.