Thinking about turning 30 kind of scares me. I’m sure it scares other people too, at least I hope so! Growing up means a lot of things and most of them are things I’m 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’ve stumbled upon, hey! nice to meet you! I’m Taylor and I’m here to change your life). 

Let’s dig in to the 10 personal finance goals you must reach before you turn 30 for true financial independence.

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10 Financial Moves You Must Make Before 30

#1 – Become Financially Literate

I’m going to assume that you didn’t learn much about finances in high school, or even college and that’s a serious problem. It’s one of those things that you must learn yourself and it’s really important to put in the work to know what’s going on.

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 before you sign a financial contract.You never know what kind of bad interest rates you could be dealing with or other weird things that could be going on.

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. If you want to stay up to date with everything Not Quite an Adult be sure to sign up for our mailing list so you never miss a post!

#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 out of it.

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’re going to 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 good financial goals and work toward them.

#3 – Know What You Want

So, let’s say that you just graduated college. You have a degree, but no idea what you’re going to do with that degree. This is okay when you’re 22, but not so much 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 real financial progress.

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 read because you’ll be dealing with all the family emergencies.

You’ll want a more reliable car, instead of a Mercedes. You’ll want a more family friendly home, instead of a studio apartment. These are all things you need to think about when making decisions when you’re young.

#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 when I hear stories 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 out debt, you won’t regret it. Being out of debt really sets you up for building wealth and you’ll have way fewer worries when it comes to finances!

#5 – Track Your Credit Score

Understanding your credit store is so important for you to get any kinds of loans in your 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, how it’s calculated, and how to increase it. We’ve written an entire series of posts on credit scores that you should check out if you need help!

#6 – Be Financially Independent

There is absolutely nothing wrong with accepting help from mom and dad when you’re in your 20s. When we’re young we really have a ton stacked against us and we don’t have the tools to support ourselves fully.

However, by the time you’re 30 you’re a real adult and should be able to financially support yourself. You don’t want to be that person who needs to run back to your parents for rent at 35. This is why a plan is so important. 

#7 – Build an Emergency Fund

In our 20s, 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 extremely important to your financial stability. Emergencies happen, they can be big and life-changing. You want to be well prepared when these situations happen.

You can start an emergency fund with just $1,000 which will be a great baby step towards financial independence and peace of mind.

#8 – Start Saving for Retirement

Wow, Retirement. I don’t know why but every time I start thinking about retirement a chill goes up my spine and I get sweaty hands. I know a ton of people in their 20s who don’t start to plan for retirement because we see it as being so far away!

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 money you put in when you’re in your 20s is going to be able to make you a ton of money because of compound interest. If you start saving when you’re 25, chances are you’ll retire a millionaire.

#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 most important thing is to not change your life exponentially at this point. If every time you get an extra $5,000 a year in income you increase your expenses by $5,000 you will never get anywhere with your finances.

If you were able to stay around the same level and maybe get an apartment that costs $1,000 more a year, you’d be able to invest the other $4,000 or use it to pay off debt! Building wealth is the key to financial stability, and lifestyle inflation is not the best way to build wealth.

#10 – Start a Side Hustle

You will never be younger or have more energy than you do now. What are you passions? Why not turn those passions into a side income? You can make a decent side income just working evenings, and weekends which can help you build wealth before you have a mortgage and a family.

Starting a side hustle that you love now could turn into a full-time job someday and you will never have to work a job you hate! Even if you never make enough income to quit your 9-5, at least it’s something you’re passionate about and you could invest that money and retire early!


Final Thoughts

There are so many things you can do now in order to be more financially secure for your future! Even if you only manage to accomplish a few of these, you’ll see an improvement in your finances.

If there’s anything you think should be accomplished in your finances by the time you’re 30, let us know in the comments!

Thanks for reading,

xo Taylor