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20 Tips For People in Their 30s To Better Manage Their Money

20 Tips For People in Their 30s To Better Manage Their Money

Turning thirty, the big 3-0, is probably the most crucial financial crossroad in the lives of many people today. Whether you are embarking on a new career path, planning on buying a house, or preparing for the responsibility of children, how you handle this monetary pivot in your life can very well lay out the blueprint for what the rest of your finances will look like.

However, if you are willing to keep an open mind to the possibilities of new ways of thinking, there are some practical ideas that may be all the inspiration needed to take charge of your own life and financial security.

These 20 tips will give you a different perspective on managing money, well into your 30s and beyond.

1. Be patient and delay pleasure

As you approach your 30s, it is safe to assume that you have probably spent the better part of your 20s in college, surviving on ramen noodles and fast food. Your impulse upon entering your 30s will be to jump into the nice house, the cool car and begin living the American dream. But be careful not to accumulate more liabilities than you have income or assets to pay for.

2. Your house is not an asset

Most people have been conditioned to the belief that buying a house and owning real estate is the secret to financial success. This is really only half the truth. If your home is taking money out of your pocket, (i.e. in the form of a mortgage), instead of putting money in your pocket, (i.e. in the form of rentals or home businesses), it is a liability, not an asset. As you turn 30, be sure to understand the difference between assets and liabilities before making large purchases.

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3. Cut back on your vices

Leaving your college years behind, you might have accumulated more vices than you care to admit – alcohol, cigarettes, and undoubtedly fast food, just to touch on a few. To be honest, I have had more than my fair share of those 3 am greasy Taco Bell runs after a night out with friends. As memorable as these times were, a realization dawns as you enter a new decade. Not only are those nights hard on your health, they are also hard on your wallet.

Also, do not forget that as you go from a fun college atmosphere to a stressful work environment, what started out as a fun way to pass the time can become a detrimental and financially draining addiction or coping mechanism.

4. Learn to cook

You don’t have to be a gourmet chef by any means, but If you are serious about managing money, you must at least know how to prepare some basic staples and simple meals that will cut back on how often you have to eat out. It can also be very helpful to plan out your meals for the week ahead of time. This will help create your grocery budget and eliminate random spending on unnecessary food.

5. Don’t be content simply being an employee

In this day and age of rising inflation and stagnant wages, you will probably find it very difficult to make enough money to save and invest after paying for basic survival essentials like food, clothing and shelter. This hardship is a consequence of generations of conditioning children to aspire to simply become employees. Whole generations are told to get a secure job with good benefits and work hard. If you find yourself feeling smarter than your job title, you probably are. As you turn 30, start thinking of ways to accumulate the knowledge that inspires you to create something of societal value.

6. Write out a budget

This might seem like an obvious duh, but how many people do you know who have actually taken the time to write a financial plan, let alone learn how to follow one? Unless you write out a detailed budget, you are playing chicken with your financial future.

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7. Save first, pay bills later

Set a savings goal and adjust your lifestyle to meet it. Do not set your saving goal to meet your lifestyle, you will always be broke. Ideally, you should be saving about 25 – 30 % of your income after taxes. The logic in society today is to pay bills and then save. This way of thinking is one of misplaced priorities and an attachment to stuff. If you want to get ahead financially and create true wealth, you must learn to pay yourself first.

8. Go through your debit/credit card statements

Don’t just throw away those monthly statements from the bank, actually go through them. Think of it as a statement that reflects your spending habits or behavior. If you are running out of money before the month’s end, your statement will very well show those loose purchases that add up to cost you tons of money. Go through with a highlighter so you can color code your expenses. This system will help you build your budget.

9. Your time is your most valuable form of money

Time is the one resource we all admit to not have enough of, yet it is the most wasted of all resources.

If you spend 10 – 12 hours of your day at a job you don’t particularly enjoy, do you really believe you are managing your time well? If time is money, then you should learn to invest it in things that add value and joy to your life.

10. Ditch cable

With so many tools available for entertainment – i.e. Internet, YouTube, Netflix, Redbox etc. – it makes no sense to pay $150 – $200 per month to watch reruns. You are probably never home anyway and when you are, there are more effective and creative ways to pass time. Cutting your cable bill can be a good way to, over time, invest $2,000 in your future.

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11. Consider the cost of having kids

Having a child is a joyous occasion. However, as you consider growing your family in your 30s, be sure to understand the cost that having a baby can add to your finances. Not to say that if you are blessed with the unexpected gift of a child you won’t be able to lead a happy and financially secure life, but it will unarguably create a few more challenges for you to overcome. The care of another’s life is a huge responsibility and should not be undertaken lightly. So in an age where birth control options are innumerable, take the responsible route and plan for the right time to add to your family.

12. Do not Cosign a loan or lend money

“The borrower is always slave to the lender.” As you get older, you may begin to have family members and friends look to you for financial assistance in getting loans. But try to remember that the bank requires a cosigner for a reason. If the borrower misses a payment, there is a good chance they will come after you. As such, be very hesitant to cosign on any loan. Not only are you risking losing your money, but you are also risking the loss of a great relationship.

13. Be careful who your teachers are and question everything

There will be lots of people, especially family and friends, wanting to give you massive amounts of financial advice as you turn 30. Remember that when it comes to money, everyone has an opinion. Most people are enthusiastically ignorant. You must take every piece of information with a grain of salt. People who may seem to be doing well financially may really be broke and living off debt. Seek not just knowledge, but understanding. Question everything and be careful not to live a different variation of somebody else’s life.

14. Your success is determined by what you do in your down time

Most wealthy people will tell you that you are only as successful as what you do during down time at your job. Marshall Mathers’s rapper counterpart “Eminem” seized every opportunity to battle in freestyle raps, even on lunch breaks at work. Those precious moments of time used turned out to be worth millions of dollars.

Remember as you approach 30 that you will be extremely busy, overwhelmed with work and bills. How you manage your down time is a good reflection on how you will probably manage money.

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15. Avoid mind numbing activities

Social media and games like Candy Crush help occupy boredom. But remember that humans are most creative when bored. Just like down time, how you treat this boredom may tell how much success you have. You are more likely to think of something productive to do if you don’t numb and distract your mind with social media and games.

16. Shop by dollar amount, not by unit price or deals

In a world of coupons, mega savers and deals, do not loose money chasing a bargain. If walk into a store with a budget of $15 for a variety of groceries and see one item on sale at 10 for $10, it may not be a deal to you to get the item as your budget does not support the purchase. You simply can’t afford the deal. Going over your planed spending amount to secure a bargain will ensure that you spend the rest of your life doing just that. Again, be patient.

17. Have an emergency fund

Financial adviser Dave Ramsey has a principle that I love and practice and it is called a G.O.K. (God only knows) fund. You have probably gone through your 20s having your financial mishaps covered by Mom and Dad. However thing are about to get real in your 30s. As Mom and Dad begin to withdraw their help, you must learn to create your own safety net, lest Visa and MasterCard catch your slack.

18. Rethink higher education

As you approach your 30s, you are probably thinking of ways to increase your income. The general advice from parents and elders is to go back to school. However, there are many other ways to do this without the debt of a Masters or MBA. The train of thought that more education equals higher pay is an old way of thinking that doesn’t really apply to this generation. While a specialized degree may be relevant in some cases, you are best served to really count the cost of your education and weigh its potential return.

19. Reaize that your savings plan and 401K may not be enough for retirement

Saving money and planning for retirement are good habits to have. However they may not be enough to sustain you and your family in the future.
So far, you have learned a few new tools to aid your financial literacy. Start looking for ways to keep income coming into your pocket even well after retirement. In your 30s, you are able to take a few well informed, calculated risks.

20. Be familiar with self-reliance and D.I.Y.

Self-reliance and learning to create or do things on your own is a big part to saving money. Fortunately, we live in an age of infinite access to information. For example, vinegar and water make a cheaper replacement for Windex. These types of tips for everyday living can be found on YouTube or Google and can really help save money.

These tips aren’t a guideline to strictly follow, by any means. But they are definitely some food for thought as you enter your 30s and seek ways to really buckle down on financial stability.

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Last Updated on June 6, 2019

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

Are you on track for retirement?

If not, don’t worry, I’m not sure either. I save each month and hope for the best.

Fortunately, I’m at an age where most people don’t save so I’m ahead of the curve.

But, what if you aren’t in your 20s? What if you’re near retirement and are looking to gauge where you stand?

If so, keep reading. Here’s how to prepare for retirement and save wisely during the process.

What Does the Average American Have Saved for Retirement?

Saving for retirement is tricky.

Tell someone straight out of college to save $10k a year for retirement and it’ll be next to impossible.

Make the same request to someone decades older and they’d be more likely to be able to save this amount. But, a 20-year old college student can be “financially ahead” of someone saving more than them. Why?

Age matters in your financial journey. The younger you are, the more time you have to save and put compound interest to work. As you get older and have more saving power, you’d have less time to put compound interest to work.

Here are the average savings Americans hold by age bracket:

20’s – $16,000

During this stage, most people are paying loans and moving up the corporate ladder. Your best bet during this stage is to focus on eliminating debt and increasing your income. Don’t focus only on getting a high-paying job neither.

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Instead, focus on learning via Podcasts, reading books, and taking specialized courses. Doing this will make you more valuable and give you more career options.

30’s – $45,000

At this stage, you’ve hopefully escaped your entry-level salary and work at a career you enjoy. Your earning power has increased but you now have more obligations. For example, marriage, kids, and a mortgage.

Set a plan to pay off all your debt and focus on eliminating unnecessary expenses. Leverage financial tools like Personal Capital to ensure you’re on track for retirement.

40’s – $63,000

This is the stage where you’re at the prime of your career. Top financial institutions recommend you have at least 2 to 4 times your salary saved up. If you’re falling behind, start maxing out your 401K and Roth IRA accounts.

50’s – $115,000

During your fifties, you’re close to retirement but still, have time to save. You may be helping your kids pay college tuition and other expenses. Since you’re at the peak of your earning power, max out all your retirement accounts.

60’s – $172,000

By this point, you should have about eight times your salary saved up. If not, you’ll depend primarily on social security benefits averaging $1400 per month. Max out all your retirement options as much as possible before retiring.

Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

The sad reality is that most Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement.

Even high-earning power isn’t enough to secure one’s financial future. You need to have the discipline to save for retirement while time is in your favor. Don’t wait for you to have a high salary to save, start with having a small budget.

First, get a clear picture of where you stand. Write down a list of “needs” and “wants.” For example, Netflix and Amazon Prime are “wants” and a “cell-phone” is a need.

Use tools like Personal Capital to analyze your spending patterns. Personal Capital allows you to add all your financial data in one place–making it a powerful option to gauge where you stand.

Once you know all your expenses, organize them from highest to lowest expense. When you can’t cut more expenses, call your service providers to negotiate a lower price. If you’re not good at negotiating, use services like Trimm to lower your monthly expenses.

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How to Save Money Each Month

By this point, you know the average amount of money you should have saved for retirement based on your age.

But, breaking this down into monthly goals can be challenging. Here are some rule of thumbs to follow:

Aim to contribute 10%–15% of your salary each paycheck. Review your progress each week.

Why so often? The reality is that life gets in our way and you will have many financial setbacks. Your goal isn’t to be perfect but to get back on track instead.

Reviewing your finances weekly lets you know where you stand with your retirement. This doesn’t have to be a long process either. All it takes is login in Personal Capital to view your net worth and check how much you have saved for retirement.

Turn saving into a game and aim to save more each month. It will get challenging but you’ll get creative and find more ways to save.

Top Money Saving Challenge Tips

To prepare for your financial future and not be another statistic you need to be different.

How?

By adopting new habits that’ll help you become a saving machine. Here are some ways you can save more:

Automatically Contribute Towards Retirement

If you’re working for a company, you can automatically contribute towards your 401k. If you’re not currently contributing more than 10%, make this your goal. Contribute 1% more today and automatically increase this amount a year from now.

Odds are that you’re not going to be negatively affected by contributing 1% more. Many times we spend our money on things we don’t need. Contributing more towards retirement is a great way to secure your financial future.

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Use the Right Tools to Know Where You Stand

Once you’re contributing more towards your retirement accounts, gauge your progress. Make use of finance tracking apps to help you view the big picture of your retirement.

When I’d first signed up for the app Personal Capital, I didn’t know I had a negative net worth. Despite saving thousands of dollars, my debt brought my net worth to the negative. Knowing this motivated me to save more and spend less.

Now, I have a positive net worth. But, it was because I was able to view the big picture using the app. Find out what your net worth is using a finance tracking app and you may surprise yourself.

Bring in Experts to View Your Blind Spots

If you have too little or too much money saved, you should consider hiring financial experts.

Why?

You may need someone to hold you accountable to help you reach your financial goals. Or, you may need help managing your money as effective as possible.

Regardless of the reason, getting help may help improve your financial situation.

Before you hire an expert, find out which areas you need help the most. For example, if you’re constantly overspending, find a debt counselor. If you’re struggling with choosing the best investment options, hire a financial advisor.

Speed up Your Retirement Contribution

After learning how to manage your money well, the next best thing is to earn a higher income.

You’re capped at how much you can save but not much you can earn. Even if your employer isn’t giving you a promotion, you can still take charge of your financial future. How?

By starting a side-business.

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This will be something you’d work on after you’ve finished your day job. Once you start earning income from your side-business, you’ll be financially better off.

The best part is the more work you put into your side-business,[1] the more potential it has to earn more money.

So start a side-business in an area you’re familiar with. For example, if you enjoy writing, do freelance writing for small e-commerce businesses.

Once you’re earning a higher income, you can contribute more towards your retirement. Don’t wait for the right opportunity to secure your financial future, create one.

Reach Financial Freedom with Confidence

What if you were able to retire tomorrow with no problem, all because you’d have enough money saved up and little to no debt left to pay off? How would you feel?

My guess is that you’d feel happy and relieved.

Most Americans are falling behind their retirement goals for many reasons. They’re not prepared, they carry bad money-habits and are thinking short-term.

For you to retire successfully, you need to work backward and adopt better habits. Contribute more towards your 401K and focus on growing your income.

If you do, you’ll save money and pay debt faster.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re behind your retirement goals. Take the first step today towards a brighter financial future. Isn’t retirement worth the hard work and sacrifice to be at peace?

Featured photo credit: Huy Phan via unsplash.com

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