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Welcome to your thirties! It’s time to get serious about money.
If you spent your twenties living and spending without a care, don’t worry. You still have time. By focusing on the right financial goals for your thirties, you can make up for any time (and money) you lost. Get to work and start using these simple tips right away!
#1) Get Serious About Retirement
In your thirties, it’s time to stop screwing around and start saving for retirement. Try and save at least 15% of your income in retirement accounts. If you can swing it, 20% is even better. Here are some tips to supercharge your retirement savings right away:
A) Get a 401(k) Checkup – Although your employer may offer a retirement plan, chances are good they aren’t actively managing it. Blooom provides a free 401(k) analysis and can help you see where your retirement plan is falling short. If you’d like, you can also direct the program to optimize your holdings and minimize fees. It’s worth checking out, and the analysis is completely free. Get a free 401(k) checkup here.
B) Meet Your Company Match – If you have access to a work-sponsored retirement account, at a minimum, save enough to meet any company match. This is free money that can only help your retirement grow. So, if your company matches 4% of your annual salary, save at least 4% in your 401(k) to take advantage of the full match.
C) Start Investing on the Side – It’s never hurts to diversify your retirement savings by investing more on the side – especially you failed to save in your twenties or your work-sponsored 401(k) is loaded with fees. Betterment makes this simple. Just complete a quick questionnaire and the program automates the investing process for you.
#2) Pay Off Your Student Loans
Chances are good that you racked up some student loan debt in your late teens and twenties. Those payments can really eat into your disposable income. To help you pay them off faster and save money on interest, refinancing to a lower rate may be a good option.
Credible is a perfect spot to compare rates from multiple lenders at once. Since they aren’t a traditional bank, you may even qualify if your credit is less than stellar. Read our complete Credible review, or use this link to get a $200 bonus when you refinance through Credible.
#3) Start an Emergency Fund
When you don’t have any money saved, every little hiccup means taking on more debt. Get in front of unexpected expenses before they happen by building an emergency fund!
Start by trying to save at least $100 a month through eliminating waste. A free app like Trim can help you find bills you no longer need, then automatically weed out those expenses for you. Use the savings to start building a beginner emergency fund of $1,000. Then, stretch it even further by saving 3 to 6 months of expenses!
#4) Consider Some Cheap Life insurance
As a former funeral director, I can’t tell you how important it is to have life insurance! This can help pay for any final expenses and – more importantly – help replace your income if you die.
In my opinion, it makes sense to skip whole life and buy term life insurance instead. It’s super cheap and you can get thousands (often hundreds of thousands) more in coverage for a lot cheaper price. For example, we recently added an additional $500,000 on me for about $25 a month using Policy Genius. Of course, life insurance rates are based on the individual applicant, and it gets more expensive as you age; so, it’s best to get going on this ASAP. Use the table below to find your rate.
#5) Improve Your Credit
Now is the time to improve any credit issues you might have. Start by grabbing a free credit score from Credit Sesame as a baseline. You’ll also get monthly score updates and daily alerts if anything on your credit report changes.
After that, be sure to look over your free credit reports. By law, you’re entitled to one free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus per year. Search for any mistakes or marks against your credit, then take action to fix them. Before long, you’ll see your credit score start to improve.
#6) Got Kids? Start Saving for College
Paying for college isn’t the same as it used to be. If you’re in your thirties and have your own finances under control, it’s important to start a college savings fund for your kids.
We started saving just $25 a month in a 529 plan for our children when they were both quite young. Since our state offers some excellent tax benefits, this was the best fit for us. In some instances, an Educational Savings Account could be a better fit. Others may find that a simple mutual or index fund works even better. Regardless, if you’ve got your own finances under control, find the right vehicle and start saving for college ASAP.
#7) Create a Last Will
Creating a will is something most people put off until their mid thirties, including us. However, having a last will is an important piece of anybody’s financial puzzle, especially if you have kids. I mean, you don’t want the government deciding what happens to your kids or your assets, right?
Instead of leaving things to the courts, we created a simple last will through LegalZoom. In the event that we both pass away, the document provides instructions on how to handle our assets and children. Now, we can rest easy knowing that it’s all going to be handled properly.
#8) Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck
Last but not least, make it a point to stop living paycheck to paycheck. Seize control of your money and make it do what you want by creating a simple budget. We like to use a zero-sum budget because it provides the clearest picture of our financial situation and gives us the most control over our money.
Once your budget is in place, start tracking your expenses. This ensures that you are following your plan and can really open your eyes to any bad spending habits. Honestly, this is what changed our money mindset for good! If your an app person, here’s a list of some great budgeting programs to check out!
What financial goals are you focusing on in your thirties? Let us know in the comments below!