For many of us, our 30s are the first decade where we feel truly stable in our lives. While our 20s introduced us to adulthood, it also came with lots of transitions and changes – college, entering the professional world, building (and ending) new relationships, etc, etc. Often once we hit that big 3-0, we’re settling into a steady career, long-term relationships (and even marriage), and are beginning to think about planning for the future rather than just surviving the present. With this, however, comes some new financial challenges, so we’ve outlined a few money landmines to avoid in your 30s.
Yes, this advice seems a bit obvious. At no point in your life should you be spending more than you can afford! However, your 30s are a time when it can be particularly tempting to live outside your means, or a time when you’re particularly likely to do so without realizing it. While your 20s may have been all about scrimping, saving, and living paycheck-to-paycheck, your 30s can bring greater career success, a larger income (especially if you have a working partner and no kids to support – yet), and the first real pressure to “keep up with the Joneses.”
It can be easy to take these new financial resources and find yourself spending everything on a big mortgage, the newest car to replace your old college beater, and maybe even big expenses like weddings or vacations. The end result is often spending significantly more money and ending up back living (bigger) paycheck to (bigger) paycheck, which is no good for anyone. So your 30s are a more important time than ever to sit down, write a nice, detailed budget, and make sure your spending fits into that budget as much as possible.
It’s a cliche, but it’s true: it’s never too early to start saving for the future. And yet, your 30s can often feel like it. You’re old enough to have a decent career and a strong, stable income, but young enough that you aren’t really thinking about retirement yet. This leads a lot of people to put savings on the back burner, contributing a minimal amount to their savings accounts, or working to build up a rainy-day savings fund but ignoring retirement savings that need to start being built ASAP.
Because of how compound interest works, the best path to a strong retirement savings account is investing as much as you can, as early as you can. Tradition or Roth IRAs allow a maximum contribution of $6,000 per year, and 401(k)s have a maximum yearly contribution of $20,500. While you don’t want to blow your budget just to meet the maximum, it’s absolutely worth looking at your budget and finding where you can shift some money to contribute as much as you comfortably can – especially if your job matches your contributions.
In an ideal world, people spend their 20s borrowing and spending smartly in order to slowly-but-surely build up a strong credit score. But the truth is that often early adulthood is when credit scores take some dings – you might have had access to a credit card but may not have gotten the education to use it responsibility; you likely didn’t have a mortgage, car loans, or other repayable debts that are used to build a robust credit rating, and you may not have had the income to consistently pay off the debts you did take on.
So once you hit your 30s, you want to be laser-focused on fixing up that credit rating, especially if you plan on purchasing a home (where you want a good rating to get a great mortgage approval) or getting married (where your spouse may become responsible for your debts). Even if you’ve been fairly responsible in your 20s – always paying bills on time, not reaching or exceeding credit limits, etc. – your 30s are a chance to take on bigger and more meaningful credit choices to ensure that your “great on paper” credit score is reinforced and stable rather than just a bubble that “pops” should anything go wrong.
Your 30s can be a time of great change and a lot of new financial challenges – big purchase decisions, big expenses, and big stress. But it’s also often a time of newfound financial stability and the emotional and intellectual wherewithal to make these decisions responsibly and with an eye towards the future. We all make mistakes at every stage in our lives, but with smart thinking and intentional planning, you can head into this stage of your adulthood with the confidence to build the financial life you want to be living.
As you grow older, purchases can become bigger and often require lending from a trustworthy financial institution that knows exactly what you need. At Spotloan, our simple online application process can help you qualify for the money you need, even if you have bad credit or need a same-day loan. All you have to do is go fill out our application to see if you qualify, and you could receive a decision within minutes. Fill out our application now!