The 6 Best Financial Moves You Can Make in Your 30s
Financial planning can look a lot different in your 30s than in your 20s. If you’re approaching your 30s, chances are that by now you’ve already learned a thing or two about financial management. Though it’s never too early to start planning for your financial future — and it’s never too late to start a new career path, either — by the time you’re in your 30s, you should begin making even smarter financial moves. We’re here to help get you started on the right foot.
1. Build Your Credit
The first piece of financial advice for your 30s, if you haven’t done so already, is to build your credit. Building your credit can take several years, especially if you’ve had some financial setbacks or struggles in your 20s. Having solid credit will open up more financial opportunities for you, like purchasing a house or getting lower interest on a loan to start a business. Credit can be used in multiple advantageous ways — all you need to do is get your credit score up. Credit monitoring tools like SmartCredit can help create a plan to achieve your best possible score, all in one easy app. But here are some basic principles:
Get rid of debt
Your 30s is a good time to start getting rid of the debts you have. While there are some “good debts” — having a mortgage or car payments — start to tackle credit card debt if you have it. Not only will this put more cash in your pocket every month, take the burden of debt off your shoulders and lower your debt-to-income ratio, but it will, at the very least, boost your credit.
Utilize promotions and offers
Taking out more credit cards wouldn’t exactly be great financial advice for your 30s. However, if you are receiving promotions for 0% balance transfers for a new credit card for up to 18 months, or you’re given the offer to consolidate your debt with a lower interest rate, you might want to take advantage of these opportunities.
Interest rates are at an all-time-low right now, and your 30s could be a good time to refinance if you already have a student loan, car loan or mortgage. Of course, you should always read the fine print and make sure you’re getting a good deal and not a bad one. All things considered, this could save you some money in the long run.
2. Think About Your Budget, Always
At this point in your life — even if you’re still in school or thinking about what career you want to pursue — you should at least have an idea of what type of life you want to lead. Do you want to travel often or do you want to buy a house (or both?). Do you want to have kids someday or are you not even ready to make that decision yet? Do you want to have a collection of nice luxury cars or a minimalist life?
Whatever it is that feels right for you (and yes, this can change still as you get older), you should be aware of what type of budget you need to have — both on a regular, everyday basis and for the near or far future. A budget can certainly change as you earn more money and/or your preferences change, but adults in their 30s who are wise with their finances will always pay attention to their budget.
Downsize and consider what’s important
Some people spend their whole 20s accumulating a lot of stuff and reach their 30s only to be asked by their parents to move out any childhood items from their home. It may not seem like a smart move financially to get rid of things that you spent money on. But, this can actually help you be more mindful about “stuff” and spending in your future.
3. Have a Reliable Emergency/Savings Account
These days, many financial experts are advising people to invest their money instead of letting it sit in their bank accounts. While this is valuable advice to some extent, you have to at least have a reliable emergency fund/savings account before investing the rest (if that’s your choice).
This fund should have anywhere between three months and six months of living expenses, to get you through hard times if you lose your job or have a sudden medical emergency (though, you could have that separate, too). Always replenish this account if you have to tap into it, because even if you’re in a salaried position by the time you’re in your 30s, you never know what can happen. You wouldn’t have to start back at square one when it’s time to start really building a financial foundation for your future.
4. Invest Your Money
These days, everyone is talking about investing, investing, investing. If you’ve just managed to create a nest egg for yourself, it may feel scary to take that money out and invest it. But once you feel secure enough with an emergency fund/savings account, then you can begin to look towards investments and assets for your future.
Historically, real estate has always been a popular and reliable investment choice. As homes typically appreciate in value, buying one in your 30s means that by the time you’re in your 60s, you’ll have something to either live in or sell for, hopefully, much more than you paid for it. If you plan on doing this, then you will need some investment money that will go towards your down payment, closing costs and other costs associated with home ownership. Talk to a loan officer to see what your options are.
Not all, but many employers will have you registered with a 401(k) or similar pension plan. Start paying into this, especially if your employer is going to match it. Additionally (or, if you don’t have that option), you can open up a Roth IRA account and add up to $6,000 a year. There are many benefits to putting money into a Roth IRA, and the sooner you start paying into it, the better prepared you’ll be financially for your retirement.
Another financial move in your 30s is to begin investing in the stock market. There’s so much information out there about how to go about this, as well as apps like Robinhood and Acorns that can help you easily learn the ins and outs of investing in stocks. Just do so with caution — if you’re not experienced, you don’t want to end up losing a lot of your money.
Your future children or your children’s future
Whether you already have children or you’re planning on having children in the future, your 30s could be a good time to start saving for them. From baby expenses to summer camp fees to a college fund, savings for children will look different for everyone, and there’s no right or wrong way to go about it. Just do what makes sense for you.
5. Prioritize and Revisit Insurance Policies
By the time you reach your 30s, chances are you’re already paying insurance for several things in your life. But, now could be a good time to start thinking about things like a life insurance policy for yourself as well as your partner. It could also be a good time to see if you can start getting better rates on your other insurance policies, too. Usually, being in your 30s can look good in the eyes of insurance companies (assuming you’ve given them no reason to up your rate).
6. Meet With a Financial Advisor
If you’re serious about making smart financial moves in your 30s, then you can consider meeting with a financial advisor. A financial advisor can sit down with you and help you come up with financial goals for your 30s and your future, assess your finances, and help you make the best choices to help you reach those goals. A financial advisor can also invest your money if you trust them to do so.
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