Financially speaking, your 30s are one of the most important decades of your career. You’re finally experienced enough to gain healthy traction and upward growth comes much faster than in the past. Additionally, you’re probably planning on starting a family and adding new responsibilities. While your 20s may have been characterized by free-spending and spur of the moment decisions, you need to begin focusing on better money management.
Money Management Tips and Tricks
While a number of factors will dictate how and where you should invest your money, everyone should plan on tackling the following to-dos.
- Get out of debt. If you’re debt-free, you’re ahead of the curve. Unfortunately, many professionals in their early-30s are strapped with student loans or struggling to rid themselves of credit card debt. If you fall into the latter category, now is the time to take care of your financial woes. Interestingly, experts suggest not going overboard with your repayment strategy. It’s crucial that you develop a structured repayment budget that doesn’t cause you to run out of cash. Once you get out of debt, you can tackle the rest of these tips.
- Buy real estate. Whether it’s a condo, apartment, or house, everyone should invest in real estate. It’s a safe place to store assets and typically provides healthy growth when held for a number of years. When looking for a place to buy, remember that location is key. You want to invest your money in an area that’s historically proven to hold its value and has plenty to offer in terms of neighborhood amenities and features.
- Allocate to your 401(k). Once you hit your 30s, your 401(k) becomes a major topic of conversation among your peers – and everyone has a different opinion. Some take an aggressive strategy and contribute the maximum each year, while others ignore it altogether. You should aim for somewhere in the middle. Richard Salmen, a certified financial planner, suggests people begin “contributing at least enough to get the employer match, which is on average 50 percent of up to 6 percent of their salary.” One strategy he suggests is funneling half of every raise you get to your 401(k), with the other half going toward family expenses.
- Build an emergency fund. No matter how financially stable you may think you are, you need an emergency fund. In an ideal situation, you should have at least six months of take-home pay set aside in case something drastic happens. However, if that isn’t possible, experts suggest having one month’s worth of income set aside as a minimum. Should you need it in the future, your emergency fund can be used to pay medical bills or sustain you while in between jobs.
Being Financially Savvy
While these are specific steps you can take to better manage your money in your 30s, it’s important to remember that being financially savvy is a mindset. Everything you do should be analyzed through the lens of whether it’s pointing you in a positive financial direction. Take care of these four things and you’ll be well on your way.