5 Smart Money Moves to Make in Your 30s
Life in your 30s is different for everyone. You may already be married and starting a family, or still enjoying the single life. You might have a house and a mortgage payment, or still want the the flexibility of renting where you live. And you might be firmly established in a thriving career or still figuring out the right fit for long-term job satisfaction. But no matter where life finds you, there are several important money moves you need to be making during your 30s. Here they are:
Establish Retirement Savings – Yes. Retirement is still a long way off, but it’s a lot closer than it was in your 20s. You can’t wait any longer. If you haven’t done so already, sign up for your company’s 401(k) plan or, if you’re self-employed, establish the appropriate IRA for your situation. It’s tempting to skip it if cash is tight, but you will regret it later if you don’t start saving for retirement now.
Evaluate Your Emergency Savings – By now, you should have an emergency savings account with enough cash to cover 3-6 months of living expenses. But chances are your living expenses are much different now than they were in your 20s. Evaluate how much you have saved and increase your contributions if need be. And if you don’t have emergency savings yet, start putting money away now. Although it’s not fun to think about, there’s no way to know when a sudden illness or job loss could affect your income.
Hone Your Negotiating Skills – Whether you’re presenting your case for deserving a raise or trying to get a better deal on that new car, learning to negotiate can help you get – and keep – more money in your pocket. It might be a little uncomfortable the first few times you try it, but once you’re successful you’ll feel empowered to continue.
Demolish Debt – If you spent your 20s relying on credit cards to make ends meet (or you still are) it’s time to start spending less than you earn and making a real effort to pay off credit card debt. Do you really want to still be paying off youthful financial indiscretions as you approach your 40s? If you need help figuring out a plan to get out of debt, free Credit Counseling is a great place to start.
Focus on Your Goals – Not the Lifestyles of Others – Everyone has that one friend or coworker who’s always jetting off to exotic locales, driving a new car or shopping without looking at the price tag. It’s tempting to wonder how they’re able to do it and wondering why you can’t do the same, but don’t fall into that trap. Stay focused on your own financial situation and achieving your goals. It’s a much better use of your mental energy.