Advertising
Advertising

Hit the Dirty 30? Three Reasons Your Financial Plan Needs to Grow Up, Too

Hit the Dirty 30? Three Reasons Your Financial Plan Needs to Grow Up, Too

You may have partied, traveled and danced your way through your 20s, but when you hit that “Dirty 30,” it’s time to start playing like an adult. Adults manage money conscientiously, spending and saving in ways that reflect their lifestyle, goals, and responsibilities.

Everything changes as we mature and our financial plans should, too. In case you require convincing, consider the following truisms that apply in your 30s:

Advertising

It’s not about you anymore.

At least, not entirely. Whether that special someone is a significant other, family member, or pet, chances are good that you will acquire some financial responsibility for another living, breathing organism as you mature. Giving to those you care about is a magnificent feeling. Keep it a blessing, not a burden, by putting aside small sums each month to help you give in the manner you desire.

Financial planning includes more than investments. Be sure you are aware of the location and contents of important papers, such as wills, of those you may find in your charge. While you’re at it, check that your own documents are up to date and stored in a safe location.

Advertising

If someone or something is dependent upon you financially, it is also a good idea to look into types of insurance that may protect you and them in the event of an accident. Can you afford the bill for a medical or veterinary emergency? If something happened to you, would those you leave behind be left without a home, vehicle, or income? Talk to your financial institution about property, medical, vehicle, and life insurance; remember to ask about bundled rates or discounts for multiple services.

Still staggering under student loans, or taking a hard look at your credit cards and panicking at debt? Meet with a financial planner to discuss how to get back on track, and commit to your plan. Minor lifestyle changes can add up to big progress in paying off debt.

Advertising

Studio apartments eventually lose their charm.

Cramming the best Ikea has to offer into 600 square feet is utilitarian when all you need is a crash pad. As you develop personally and professionally, however, you will at some point want to live somewhere with enough space to welcome family and friends. Perhaps your profession will require you to see clients at home from time to time, or your boss may stop by. Forget what you want; if you have kids, you’re flat out going to need more space!

Space, of course, takes money. So does the security that comes with good neighborhoods, and furniture that doesn’t break if you lean on it too hard. Even if you are rolling your eyes while you read this and thinking that kids sound like a party-ending curse, start setting aside money for a living upgrade, now. When something perfect comes on the market, or you suddenly meet the man or woman who makes you want to build a life together, you will regret not being ready. If it helps ease the transition, think of it as the fund for a bigger and better bachelor or bachelorette pad. However you label it, start saving!

Advertising

One day, it might be nice not to work.

Retirement, that siren song reserved for your parents and “old” people. Right? Wrong. Retirement is a goal that should be on your mind now, along with an awareness that as Social Security and other benefits slowly disappear, retirement is a goal an increasing number will never reach.

If you have any aspiration of reaching retirement comfortably, you must start planning now. Look into 401(k) options at your job, or open a traditional or ROTH IRA and do your best to maximize your investment each year.

Ready to get going?  Check out the 14 Important Steps You Should Take To Free Yourself From Debt.

Featured photo credit: seniorliving.org via flickr.com

More by this author

20 Art Therapy Activities You Can Try At Home To Destress 11 Things Highly Charismatic People Do Differently 20 Things to Tell Yourself When You Are Facing Adversities 30 Life Lessons From Chinese Billionaire Jack Ma These 8 Tips Will Help You a Lot When Meeting Your Partner’s Parents for the First Time

Trending in Money

1 How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt 2 How to Use Debt Snowball to Get out from a Financial Avalanche 3 How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money 4 The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind 5 How to Answer the Tough Question: What are Your Salary Requirements?

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

Advertising

Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

Advertising

I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

Advertising

Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

Advertising

So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

Read Next