Your 30s are a completely different kind of terrain that your 20s. Your finances should reflect that. Here are nine simple money management tips to tackle in your 30s that will help you step up your game to “Adult Level”:
Step It Up In Your Career
If you’ve successfully managing to find a job that you enjoy and pays the bills, then congratulations. Not everyone can do that by the time they hit 30. So if you’re still searching for the right job just keep at it.
That being said; if you’re looking everywhere for your dream job, you might be aiming too high. It’s something to keep in mind if you haven’t settled into a career path yet. For 30somethings who think they’ve found a place in the workforce where they fit in nicely, it’s time to step it up. Aggressively chase promotions, raises, connections, or maybe a new job opportunity. Now is the time to try to increase your income, as well as your position in the hierarchy at work. Money management tips won’t do you any good unless your income starts increasing somewhat.
Tread carefully so as not to push it too far and be seen as a liability. But start leveraging your time and efforts at your current job level into something bigger and better. If that means surreptitiously looking around for a similar job that offers better pay and increased responsibility, then start looking.
Feel out your own situation at work. Are you close to moving upwards? What can you do, or what projects can you take on to prove that you’re ready for more? Remember your down time could be spent advancing your career, and the most successful people already know this.
Don’t Panic and Jump Into Owning Real Estate
Owning real estate is a thing that you’ve been told to do your entire life. It’s considered a major milestone that an adult in their 30s should be ready to reach. But maybe you’re not. Baby boomers consider owning a house to be one of the best money management tips that they can offer. But things have changed. The real estate market still isn’t what it used to be, and owning a house could cost you more than it saves you.
Buying a house does not give you an asset in and of itself. That’s a myth. It’s not the secret to financial success as your parents would lead you to believe. A house costs you a mortgage. And if you’re not ready to handle that mortgage, it could ruin you. For most 30somethings, a house is a liability rather than a financial asset. If you’re financially stable enough to handle a mortgage and you need the space and sense of ownership… then go for it. Just think it through very carefully. It’s not a moneymaker; owning a house is going to cost you.
If you purchase rental property or home business real estate, that’s another matter. Those could potentially put money into your pocket, and serve as a valuable asset. But real estate is always a risky endeavor. Do your homework, and don’t believe the hype of a generation from such a painfully different financial era.
Learn to Live More Sensibly
Learn to cook, stop eating so much takeout, and cut back on your vices. Yes it’s time to grow up. You’re in your 30s now, and the smartest money management tips out there involve simply acting your age. Going out to the bars every weekend costs money. (Gasp! You had no idea!) And your 20something indulgences and vices aren’t cute anymore.
It’s boring and tedious, but you need to assess your life and your financial expenditures and get serious about living more sensibly. Going out less and devoting more time to work is just a fact of being in your 30s. That’s not because your age determines the amount of fun that you have; it’s because “fun” is going to change for you. Sure, you could continue to spend a bunch of money on yourself and not worry too much about the future. But that means you’ll never be able to retire, travel, or accomplish financial milestones like owning a car, house, or being able to have a family. If those plans sound like things you want in your life, you’ll have to work for them. So that might mean leaving behind the things you did in your 20s.
- Quit smoking.
- Stop spending so much money on entertainment.
- Eat out less than 3 times a week.
- Learn to cook.
- Learn to keep up your home.
- Take care of yourself; mentally and physically.
You are your best asset. So now that you’re in your 30s, it’s time to start acting like it. Invest in yourself.
Plan a Budget and Stick to It
If you haven’t already set up a budget for yourself, it’s time. Money management tips are entirely ineffective if you don’t stick to your own financial plans. Or, maybe you already have a budget, and you’ve been faithfully adhering to it for several years now. Good for you. But now it’s time to reassess that budget.
Whether you’re just now plotting out a budget for yourself, or you’ve been budgeting successfully for some time; your 30s are the time to revisit that budget and think about your changing needs. Your entertainment budget will probably need to be a bit more limited, because your living expenses have probably gone up recently. As you get older, you tend to want nicer things; a more professional wardrobe that looks your age, a newer car, a bigger place, a newer tv… so you’ll have to budget for it.
Budgeting is strangely introspective. There’s some soulsearching involved. What do you need? What do you want? What can you do without?
Sit down with a piece of paper and physical write down some goals. How are you going to achieve those financially? That’s where your budget can help you. Your budget is also going to help you start saving correctly. Your savings are going to change drastically in your 30s. Which brings us to…
Start Saving Hard
You should be squirreling away about 25 – 30 % of your income after taxes. If you’re saving less than that, something probably needs to change. You’ll either need to increase your income somehow, cut back on spending, or simply start siphoning off larger chunks of your paychecks into your savings accounts.
And you’ll need multiple savings accounts for different things. Society’s favorite money management tips include myths like, “You can retire on your 401K alone! You’ll be fine!” But you’ll need more than that these days. You need to have a savings account, a retirement fund, and an emergency fund. Have those three types of savings at the very least. If you have kids or plan to have kids, you’ll also want a college fund (which you should start saving for now, because as you’ve probably learned; you’ll need to do everything you can to prevent them from having student loans) and a savings account for their needs like school supplies, clothes, cars, etc. And on that note of parenthood, we move on to…
Kids Are Expensive
Do you already have kids? Or have you been thinking about having or adopting them? Here’s something you already know: they’re insanely expensive. In addition to the basic costs of feeding, clothing, nurturing, and caring for your children, you’re going to want to be able to afford more. Taking family vacations, going out to fun events, and paying for their inevitable costs like braces, E.R. visits when they fall off their bike (which you paid for) or piano lessons.
Some money management tips are a nobrainer. Kids cost money. Are you ready for it? If you already have kids in your 30s, you need to start planning right now. Planning for children years in advance makes things easier. But not everyone has that luxury. Kids happen, and it’s time to start figuring out how to save for their futures in your 30s.
That means adhering to the other money management tips. Cut back on spending on yourself, dump as much money as possible into your savings accounts, revisit your budget, etc. The only difference is: now you have to factor in the lives of your family. Having a family is wonderful. But it’s extremely expensive. Good money management is essential to surviving 18+ years and coming out still financially thriving!
Learn How to Save Money by Being Self-Reliant
Love the D.I.Y. In your 20s, it was fine for you to just hope the crack in your apartment ceiling didn’t get any bigger. You’d move out in a year or two, even if your crappy landlord wouldn’t fix it. And god knows you weren’t too concerned about maintaining your health. But in your 30s, you should start investing in yourself and in your own skills. It’s time to become more selfreliant. Because overall, it’s going to save you more money if you’re equipped to handle a little bit of anything and everything that life throws at you.
- Knowing how to fix a leaky faucet so your water bill doesn’t skyrocket.
- Paying your own taxes properly.
- Making your home more energy efficient so your heating and cooling bills are cheaper.
- Taking care of your home and yard.
- Taking care of yourself.
- Maintaining your budget.
- Changing your own oil.
- Cooking; for real.
- Being able to sew back on that button or path up that tear in your new shirt.
Selfreliance is one of the ultimate money management tips. Not only is learning everything you can going to help you save money on things like repairmen, bills, and maintenance… it’s also going to improve your overall quality of life and happiness. Investing in yourself in your 30s also means taking pride in being able to handle things. There’s an immense sense of satisfaction and freedom that comes with knowing how to take care of yourself, your belongings, and the people around you. So it’s time to learn how to really take care of things. Mentally, physically, emotionally, practically, and financially. You’re a real grown up now! You can do it all, all by yourself. You got this.
Viciously Attack Your Debt
If you’re currently in debt, it’s time to fix that. This should be your first priority (unless you have kids, in which case keeping them alive is fairly important, right?) and you should throw yourself into the task of eliminating debt.
The best money management tips about debt that you need to know? Get out of it. You’re never going to be able to start saving money or financially progressing until you shake off the debt that’s holding you back.
In your 30s, you’re likely to be making more money than you were in your 20s. In your 20s, it was hard for you to seriously pay off your debts when you’re so focused on making enough money to take care of rent and bills. But things are a bit different now.
If you have student loans, credit card debt, or a car loan, you need to do whatever is necessary to pay it off. You should absolutely work your debt into your budget, and devote a portion of each paycheck into those debt payments, just like you do with your savings. Keep putting money into savings, but also keep at that debt problem. Paying it off will take time and work. But nothing can truly move forward until you get rid of your financial past.
Once you’ve paid off your debts, you need to learn how to keep it off in your 30s. It’s just like losing weight the hardest part is keeping it off. You’ll need to learn to avoid credit card debt, stay away from loans as much as possible, and try to pay for everything up front. If you can’t afford it, maybe you should steer clear and avoid slipping back into debt.
Up Your Insurance and Your Emergency Funds
This is, again, especially true if you already have a family or plan to have one in the near future. In your 20s you were able to skate by with hoping you wouldn’t get sick. And it usually worked. Being young and healthy is great. But smart money management tips include covering the “could be”s. If you don’t have insurance through your job, get the federal coverage. It’s mercifully affordable. That’s why they call it the “Affordable Health Care Act!”
If you have people depending on you, you’ll want your insurance to cover them as well. If your spouse has better insurance than you, either get on their plan or have theirs cover your kids, if you have them. You should also have at least basic coverage for your house and car, if you have them. But health insurance is no longer an optional expense. It’s a fact of life now.
In addition to bumping up your insurance, you should revisit your emergency funds. Having $1,000 stashed away in case of an emergency was plenty for when you were in your 20s. But if you’re in your 30s (and especially if you have a family) you should increase the funds that you put into those emergency reserves. People are counting on you now!