Thinking about turning 30 kind of scares me. I’m sure it scares some of you as well… at least I hope so, I don’t want to be alone. Growing up means a lot of things and most of them are things that I am scared of.
Leaving your 20s means a lot of things are going to change, and one of the most important of those is that you have to start controlling your own finances. Scary, I know.
What we all need to realize is that growing up is not as scary as we often make it out to be. There are so many awesome resources out there to teach you all of these things (including this great website you just stumbled onto, hey! nice to meet you, I’m Taylor, I’m here to change your life…) and should definitely take advantage of them.
Okay, let’s help you go into your 30s with a great step in the right direction for your finances.
10 Financial Moves You Must Make Before 30
#1 – Become Financially Literate
Do you currently know exactly what a 401(k) is? Do you know more than it’s just for retirement? It’s so important to really understand how interest rates work, how compounding interest rates work, and all the options available to you for your money. Chances are you didn’t learn much about financial education while in high school or even college and that’s a big problem. It’s one of those things that you must learn yourself and it’s so important to understand it.
You don’t want to just be throwing your money into accounts that you don’t fully understand when there is a chance you’ll have other options that are better. Another thing that is super important with this, is that you should ALWAYS read every line when you sign a contract. You never know what kind of bad interest rates you could be dealing with or other weird things that could be going on. Always read the contract before signing!
It’s so great that you’re reading this blog because that’s a great first step to be able to learn more about money.
#2 – Set Big Goals & Have a Plan
I honestly wish that I had created a financial plan and set money goals when I first started working. I got my first job at the end of 2010 and spent every single penny I made for 6 years. I did get a degree during that time and paid for most of it out of pocket, so I got something. If I would’ve spent that time working toward something I’d be in a much better place now financially.
You really need to know where you want to be in 5, 10, 25 years when it comes to your finances. Do you want to retire early? You need a plan for how to do that. Do you want to buy a new car in 2 years? You’re going to need a plan to get there too. You can have everything you want but you really need to set goals and work toward them.
#3 – Know What You Want
So, let’s say that you just graduated college. You have a degree but have no idea what you’re going to do with that degree (ha, me). This is okay when you’re 22, but definitely not okay at 30. Before you turn 30 you need to decide where you’re going with your career. If you spend the first 10 years of your adult life kind of just flailing around without landing somewhere permanently you’re never going to make financial progress. Are you going to want to be your own boss someday? Or are you okay having a boss? These are things you need to decide so you know how to plan your life to get them.
In addition to understanding where you want your career to go, you need to know what you want for your everyday life. If your absolute dream is to have 2.5 kids and a white picket fence, plan for it. You’ll want to have more of an emergency fund because you’re going to be dealing with children related emergencies! You’ll want a more reliable, family friendly car as opposed to a Mercedes. These are all things you need to think about while making decisions when you’re young.
I made my plan this year, I know what I want. My dream in life is to be my own boss (hence working towards making this blog a full-time income), to travel the world, and to have a little wiener dog named Noodle to call my own. That’s my dream. May sound horrible to some of you but that’s exactly what I want and I know that I need to work toward it.
#4 – Get Out of Debt
I really need people to know that debt does not have to be normal. It is not necessary for you to have a car you can’t afford and pay that monthly, or have thousands of dollars of credit card debt, or to have your student loans forever. It really hurts my heart to hear about people that are in their 40s and still paying off their student loans. You should not be in thousands of dollars of debt for your entire life just because you think debt is normal.
If you spend your 20s at least starting to get yourself out of car, credit card, and student loan debt you’ll eventually be out. Being out of debt really sets you up for building wealth and you’ll have so many less worries when it comes to finances. There are so many people who have no idea how they’ll fund their retirement because they don’t have the capital to start investing. If they got out of debt early, they’d be set.
#5 – Track Your Credit Score
Understanding your credit score is becoming increasingly important in order for you to get loans in the future. Chances are you won’t be able to afford to pay cash for your future home and you’ll need a mortgage. You need a decent credit score in order to get a mortgage.
It’s so important to know what your credit score is, and how to increase it. I highly suggest you read our post from about a month ago all about understanding and increasing your credit score. You can read that here!
#6 – Be Financially Independent
There is absolutely nothing wrong with accepting help from mom and dad when you’re in your 20s. Being young we really do have so much stacked against us and we don’t really have all the tools to support ourselves fully. However, by the time you’re 30 you’re a real adult and you should really be able to financially support yourself. You don’t want to have to run back to your parents when you can’t make rent. This is why a plan is so important, you need to know what you can afford.
I also want to throw out there that you should never be financially dependent upon someone else. This could be your significant other. I know that some people want to stay at home with their children and there’s nothing wrong with that. But there is a chance that that relationship may end or something could happen to the other person and you’ll need to support yourself and your children. Start a business while raising your kids so you have some income in with the potential to support yourself.
#7 – Build an Emergency Fund
In our 20’s we often think that we’re invincible. We won’t end up in an accident needing disability. We’re young. The issue with this thinking is that we often don’t plan for emergencies. Having an emergency fund is so extremely important to your financial stability. Emergencies happen, they can be big and they can be life-changing. You want to be a prepared adult when these situations happen. Start with $1000 dollars. If you want to learn ways that you can build up a $1000 emergency fund in 100 days, check out this post.
#8 – Start Saving for Retirement
Wow. Retirement. I don’t know why but every time I start thinking about retirement savings a chill goes up my spine and I get really sweaty hands. I have a really bad habit of thinking that retirement is so far away that I shouldn’t start worrying about it now. Wrong. Retirement is one of those things that is going to sneak up on you so quickly. You have no idea how fast time flies.
Starting to save for retirement early is going to benefit you in so many ways! The more money you put in when you’re young, the more money you’ll be able to build because of compounding interest and everything else you’ll learn when you become financially literate. If you start saving when you’re 25 you’ll retire a millionaire. If you spend your 20s and 30s in debt and not starting a retirement savings plan until 40, chances are you’ll struggle when you do decide to retire.
#9 – Don’t Outgrow Your Income
When we graduate college we are so used to living like students. Either in dorms, crappy apartments, or with our parents. We want to increase our lifestyle as soon as we get a job that pays decently. The key is to not change your life exponentially at this point. If every time you get an extra $5000 a year you increase your lifestyle by $5000 you’ll never get anywhere with your finances.
If you were to stay at around the same level and maybe get an apartment that costs $1000 more a year, you’d be able to invest that other $4000 and make tons of money over the next few years instead of throwing money away on things that you don’t need. Building wealth is the key to financial stability, not fancy cars and huge apartments.
#10 – Start a Side Hustle
You’re never going to be younger and more able than you are now. What are your passions? Why not turn those passions into a second income? When I was young I always thought I was going to work in an office, in some human resource department and live for the weekend because that’s what I saw other people doing.
If you aren’t able to go full-time into your passions right away you can always start it as a nights and weekends job until you can afford to go full-time. You don’t want to wake up at 40, seeing that you spend most of your life in a job you hate when you could’ve done something about it now.
Start a side hustle, work hard and build it up. Even if it’s never enough income to quite that 9-5, at least it’s something that you are passionate about and it could be money you could invest to make more money and maybe you can quit someday.
Hey! My name is Taylor O’Halloran and I’m a huge fan of saving money any way I can.I’m obsessed with dogs and I love all kinds of cheese even though my stomach hates it. I’m a recent university graduate who just wanted to do her own thing and see what happens! Follow me on the journey!