5 Financial Habits to Start in Your 30s
People say 30 is the new 20. Certain life events seem to be shifting later, like building careers and starting families. Even though some milestones are being delayed, that’s no reason to procrastinate when it comes to your finances.
The truth is, your 30s are a critical time to expand your smart financial habits. You’ve got life experiences you didn’t have at 20, and you’ve still got time on your side. When you think about it, you’re in a pretty powerful position. Your next money moves matter. A lot. Here are 5 financial habits to start in your 30s that will set you up for success.
1. Get Out of Debt
If you’re a 30-something with debt, you’re not alone. You might be paying off student loans, financing a car, and/or carrying a balance on a credit card. Maybe more than one. Womp womp.
You’re not 25 anymore — it’s time to get serious about getting out of debt. While debt has been normalized in our instant gratification culture, the reality is that interest is costing you. Not just the dollars it eats up every month, but the opportunity cost. What else could you do with that money?
If debt prevents you from saving for your future or spending your money on an incredible experience, it’s too expensive.
Easy Strategy to Eliminate Debt
Debt can feel like a never-ending avalanche. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, the snowball method is an effective way to attack your debt. The steps are easy:
- Make a list of all your debts.
- Identify the smallest one and pay it off completely.
- Once that one is paid off, focus on adding any money that would’ve gone to paying off the first debt (plus any new income) to the next smallest balance.
- You will be out of debt much sooner than you would imagine.
Minimize Interest with a Balance Transfer Credit Card
Even before you create a plan for paying down your debt, you can take one easy step to minimize interest. If you’re carrying a credit card balance with a high APR, consider transferring the balance to a card with a special introductory rate.
Balance transfer credit cards usually offer a low or even 0% APR on balance transfers for a promotional period. If you transfer high-interest debt onto one of these cards and play by the rules, you free up a ton of cash in interest payments. There will be a small transfer fee.
Need help choosing a balance transfer credit card? CreditLand is an excellent free online resource for finding the right card for your needs. Check it out today.
2. Save More
Once you tackle your debt, you’ll free up extra money for saving. While it’s probably the least exciting goal, you need an emergency fund as a buffer against the unexpected. Especially if you want to avoid going back into debt. You also might want to start saving intentionally for something fun, like an epic vacation.
Either way, it’s not happening without a plan. Without a plan, your saving will not be intentional, it will be sporadic and chaotic. And, not having money to cover your basic needs leads to stress. Be more mindful when it comes to saving money, especially an emergency fund.
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Automate Your Savings with a CIT Savings Builder Account
The easiest way to actually save money is to automate it. If you try to save what’s “leftover” after you pay your bills and live your life, you won’t get anywhere. But when you treat savings like an expense and set up a regular, automatic transfer, you start building a nest egg effortlessly.
The CIT Savings Builder Account is a great place to stash your savings because it reserves its upper-tier interest rate for customers who make a regular monthly deposit of at least $100 or maintain a balance of $25,000. Why not get paid to save consistently?
3. Invest More
Your 30s is a crucial time to get serious about investing. I know, retirement seems like a lifetime away. But right now, you have something powerful on your side: Time. When you get serious about eliminating debt, that frees up money to invest.
If you start investing regularly now, you can set yourself up to enjoy a comfortable nest egg in the future without having to invest huge amounts down the road. That’s because there’s plenty of time on the calendar for compound interest to work its magic.
Reject Lifestyle Creep and Invest Instead!
Just like saving, the key to sticking with investing is automation. Acorns is a great tool for getting started because it builds you a diversified portfolio based on your goals and risk tolerance in just a few minutes. It lets you schedule automatic investing that works for your schedule, and it has a nifty Round-Up feature that invests the spare change. Anytime you can invest without thinking about it, you’re winning!
Pro Tip: Every time you get a raise, increase your automatic investing by the same amount. You’ll never miss the money because you never had it! Yeah, you could upgrade your lifestyle a little bit instead, but the impact of that money compounding over 20 or 30 years will be so much greater than anything you could buy today.
The Sooner You Invest, the More Time You Have to Earn
If you want to earn a comfortable source of income for later in your life, the key is to invest early. Mainvest is a funding portal that brings together willing investors and small, local companies. When you invest through Mainvest, you are helping keep the American Dream alive, while setting yourself up for a nice payday.
Your investment will help a business launch or expand. Like all investments, there are risks. But with Mainvest, they vet businesses to ensure it has a high probability of returning money to investors — 96% get their initial investment repaid with a handsome multiplier. For many companies, all it takes is $100 to get started.
4. Review Insurance Coverage
Although you might have dismissed insurance in your 20s for anything other than your car, your 30s are a prime time to review your coverage. At this stage of life, you have acquired assets you’d like to protect, and you might have started or are thinking about starting a family. If that’s the case, you need to make sure your needs are covered. When dependents are in the picture, it’s especially important to consider life insurance.
Get the Best Insurance Rates with Insurify
Reviewing your insurance needs is a great time to shop around for the best rate. Even if you need to buy more coverage, you might actually save money if you switch to a less expensive provider.
Shopping around is super annoying the old-fashioned way, but Insurify makes comparing home and auto insurance costs a breeze. As a licensed online insurance broker, Insurify compares rates across dozens of providers—for free.
Let’s say you reviewed your auto insurance policy and are satisfied with the coverage itself but wish it were cheaper. No problem! Just give Insurify your policy account number and it’ll find quotes from every major insurance company for the same level of coverage. Pick the best rate and switch online!
5. Forget the Joneses
One of the biggest mistakes people in their 30s make is comparing themselves to “the Joneses”. You know who I’m talking about: Your colleagues, neighbors, and even random people on social media who seem to have everything.
A bigger house. A newer car. A fancier vacation. And it makes you feel inadequate. Next thing, you’re sacrificing your investment goals for an expensive car payment. Or worse, maxing your credit card to book vacations you can’t afford.
Listen up: The Joneses are BS, and comparing yourself to them is senseless. That’s right, I said it. First of all, you don’t know their financial stories. Maybe they saved for everything they have, but maybe they’re drowning in debt. Hard pass.
Secondly, it doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing. What will bring you satisfaction? If it’s spending every cent you earn and borrowing more besides accumulating more stuff, then have at it. But if you want less stress, more time, and more options, that isn’t the way.
Check Your Social Media Use
You already know what I’m about to say: Social media feeds aren’t real life. They’re highlight reels. But that doesn’t stop the insidious comparison game we’re always playing.
To curb toxic comparison, be selective with how you use social media:
- Try deleting apps from your phone for a while;
- If that feels too hard, make them less accessible by moving them off the home screen or putting them in subfolders;
- Schedule social-free times in your day;
- Unfollow accounts that make you feel jealous/inadequate; and
- Follow like-minded people and groups that inspire you.
Your 30s are a golden opportunity to tackle your finances. Implement these five tips and you’ll be off to a good start.
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