If you’re a fan of the show Friends, you’ve probably seen the episode titled, “The One Where They All Turn 30.” Rachel is the last of the group to celebrate the big 3-0, and she has a major meltdown about the goals she hasn’t accomplished yet.
But when it comes to facing our 30s in real life, we find ourselves agreeing with the (for once) level-headed Ross who tries to reassure them all that turning 30 “isn’t that bad.” In fact, there’s plenty to be pumped about in your 30s—like marriage, kids and career growth, just to name a few!
With so many large, important changes in your life, handling money the right way becomes even more important. You’ll not only face these exciting changes and challenges with confidence, you will also set yourself up for a more secure future.
1. Move Past Basic Budgeting and Set Some Big Goals
Most folks in their 20s are on a rice-and-beans budget. Entry-level jobs and student loans mean there’s not much room for luxury.
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But as you enter your 30s and start earning more, you can start setting—and meeting —important money goals. Don’t fall for the trap that a higher income means you “deserve” a new car or an expensive new wardrobe. Use your income to pay off all loans and credit cards and get rid of debt for good.
Next, save up an emergency fund of three to six months of expenses. Once you’re debt-free and have a cushion of savings, you’ll have a financial foundation most folks twice your age can only wish they had.
Your next goal is to save a down payment for a home. When you’re ready to put down roots and stay in one place for at least five years, you’ll be in a great position to buy. Again, avoid the temptation to go for the big home—and the huge mortgage that comes with it. Figuring out how much house you can really afford is key. Keep it conservative so you can use your income to start building wealth for the future.
2. Get on the Long (Long) Road to Retirement
As kids start to come into the picture, your budget may feel the strain—especially if one parent stays home to care for the kids. Whether yours is a one- or two-income family, it will take careful planning to meet your long-term goals like college savings and retirement. Just remember, your top priority is to save 15% of your income for retirement, starting with your 401(k)s, enough to receive the full employer’s match. Then, you can each invest up to $5,500 a year in Roth IRAs.
With 30 or more years until retirement, folks your age have time to let compound interest work its magic on your savings. By investing just $800 a month in good, growth stock mutual funds, you could have a nest egg worth $2.8 million–$4.6 million by the time you reach retirement age!
3. Ask Questions and Get Answers You Can Trust
Folks in their 30s really are at a great time in life. You have the potential to reach your goals, and you’re mature enough to know they won’t be handed to you on a silver platter —you’ve got to work hard and take action to reach them.
You’ve also got enough life experience under your belt to know you don’t have all the answers about some things like long-term retirement investing. That’s why Dave recommends people of all ages work with an experienced financial consultant who can answer your questions and show you how to get your retirement savings started the right way.
You’ll want to work with an agent who’ll stick with you for the long haul, helping you stay on track even when times are tough. We can put you in touch with an experienced, trustworthy financial advisor in your area who has earned Dave’s recommendation for great advice and excellent service.