Once you reach your 30s you’re hopefully past the big changes of your 20s and on your way to creating wealth. You’re earning more at your job and you’re making progress on your financial goals. However, you may also be making some mistakes that are keeping you from optimizing your life and finances. And, you don’t want that to hold you back. These are 13 money mistakes to avoid in your 30s.
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Putting Off Retirement Planning
Time is the most important aspect of saving for retirement. The Motley Fool reports that less than 40 percent of people in their 30s are on track with their retirement savings.
It can be difficult to start, but make it a priority. Even if you save in small amounts in the beginning, it’s the act of doing it that matters.
Taking On Increased Levels Of Debt
At any age, debt can be ruinous to your finances. Unfortunately, people in their 30s have it bad. For example, the average millennial has nearly $80,000 in debt.
If that’s you, make a plan to avoid adding more to it, and act now to start knocking it down.
Avoiding Life Insurance
Death is a fact of life. Life insurance is one of the best tools to provide for your loved ones in the event of an untimely death.
Getting coverage now typically ensures you’re going to get it for cheaper. Get group coverage through your employer and complement it with an affordable term plan.
Not Having an Emergency Fund
Having a fully-funded emergency fund is essential to avoiding debt and staying on track financially. Unfortunately, most Americans don’t have even $1,000 saved.
Find a high-yield savings account, like CIT Bank, and start saving. Make it a goal to save $500, then $1,000, then one month of living expenses. Use that as motivation to reach three, then six months’ worth of living expenses.
Becoming House Poor
There’s nothing wrong with renting, especially if you don’t have a down payment of 20 percent to go towards a house purchase.
Having a house is great, but not if you can’t do anything else.
Overspending On a Car
Similar to a house, there’s no shame in driving an older, reliable car. With the average new car payment being over $700, people in their 30s shackle themselves to monthly payments that keep them from pursuing other goals.
No Long-Term Career Planning
If you’re in your 30s, you easily have at least two, if not three, decades left in your career. Short-term thinking is fantastic, but it must be dovetailed by long-term planning.
Take on new tasks at work, shadow people in other departments, and don’t be afraid to change jobs to leverage your skills for the future.
Putting Off Having Children
Having children is a personal decision and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Putting off that decision can come with unplanned side effects, such as increasing costs or creating a future burden for your child(ren).
Having Only One Stream Of Income
It is reported that the average millionaire has at least nine streams of income. You can pursue the same idea, even in your 30s.
Side hustles, passive income apps, and more are all terrific opportunities to pursue and start multiple streams of income. Relying solely on your day job will, relatively speaking, only hold you back.
Not Having a Budget
Most people love or hate budgets. Haters don’t realize that a budget is meant to give you the freedom to spend money as you wish in line with your personal goals.
Budgeting doesn’t have to be difficult. There are plenty of free or cheap budgeting apps you can use that can help you get on track with your finances.
Not Tracking Your Spending
Even if you don’t want to have a budget, tracking your spending is essential in your 30s. You may be earning more, making it easier to spend more.
If you don’t know where your money is going monthly, that can open you up to more problems. A simple budgeting app can help you track your spending, even if you don’t want to live on a budget.
Not Taking Advantage Of Your 401k
Most people in their 30s are well behind on where they should be in their retirement planning. If that’s you, the best way to attack this may be right in front of you – a 401(k) match.
This is free money offered to you by your employer, but you must save money yourself to get it. If you can only do a little, put away at least enough to receive the match.
Not Saving For Your Child’s College Needs
It’s often said that you should save for your retirement before you save for your child’s college needs. That is true, but if you do have the ability to save now, putting away even a little each month is far better than putting it off.
Most states offer tax benefits to 529 contributions. Take advantage of those, and don’t overlook asking family members to contribute in lieu of giving gifts.
How to Become Rich Quickly
Everyone wants to become rich quickly. While not always possible, there are legitimate ways to become wealthy. Follow these methods and you’ll be on the road to riches.
101 Ways to Make Money on the Side
There are countless side hustle ideas you can pursue. Not everyone will be a good fit for you. Here’s an exhaustive list of options to make extra money on the side.
35 Proven Ways to Save Money Every Month
Many people believe it’s impossible to save money. Or, they think saving $20 or $50 a month won’t amount to much. Both are incorrect. There are many simple money-saving tips that can add up to big savings. You just have to start one, then another, to increase your savings.
10 Proven Ways to Pay Off Debt Faster This Year
Paying off debt doesn’t have to take years upon years to achieve. You can intensify your efforts to kill it quicker. The sooner you become free the sooner you can attack other personal finance goals.
How to Start Investing With $500 Or Less
You don’t need a lot of money to start investing. It’s possible to start with several hundred dollars, or less. Take advantage of time and start growing your money as soon as possible.
I’m John Schmoll, a former stockbroker, MBA-grad, published finance writer, and founder of Frugal Rules.
As a veteran of the financial services industry, I’ve worked as a mutual fund administrator, banker, and stockbroker and was Series 7 and 63-licensed, but I left all that behind in 2012 to help people learn how to manage their money.
My goal is to help you gain the knowledge you need to become financially independent with personally-tested financial tools and money-saving solutions.