As someone in her 30s, I can attest to how this time of my life has caused mixed emotions. After all, I am still learning to be an adult and reconcile some of the mistakes I made as a 20-something. When you throw money into the picture, everything seems to get even more complicated!
The good news is that we live in a time where information on money, and life in general, abounds. The downside is that there are so many voices and opinions that it’s hard to know what to do and how. While I don’t know about every possible financial scenario for every circumstance, I’m happy to share three financial tips about better money management you can focus on in this decade of your life.
Recognize the One Resource You’ll Never Get Back
What is the precious resource you’ll never get back? Time, of course. If you are in your 30s, you most likely still have time on your side. We all know the adage “time equals money” when it comes to trading dollars for hours, but it’s not as common to relate this equation to investing.
In your 30s, you still have plenty of time to invest and grow your retirement nest egg. Ideally, you’ve been investing since your first job. However, if you didn’t have it all together in your 20s, don’t worry: Now is the perfect time to start! Evaluate your investing options against long-term goals or think about investing even more of your income.
Tip #1: Dump Debt
According to a 2015 study conducted by NerdWallet.com, the average American household carries over $15,000 in credit card debt. Even though debt is a common part of the American financial landscape, it can often prevent people from doing things they really want to do like save more money, spend more time with family or start a business.
Focus on getting out of debt and building a strong foundation of financial stability for yourself and your family.
Tip #2: Create an Estate Plan
It’s likely you have assets that need to be taken care of in the event of your death. Even if you don’t have dependents, you want to make sure everything you’ve worked hard for in your lifetime goes to people or causes you care about.
Tip #3: Invest in Yourself
It can never hurt to keep a back-up skill handy in case you can’t work in your primary industry. If you lose your job due to downsizing or other life circumstances, you want to make sure that you can keep your skills relevant for employment purposes.
Advancing your skills might mean getting an advanced degree. For others, it might mean some just-in-time learning in an e-course with a really specific focus. Either way, keeping a skill in your back pocket for a rainy day may prove useful, as you never know when you might have to explore additional streams of income to keep the boat afloat. Having a marketable skill is a great launching pad for that.
There always seems to be another thing to do when it comes to money and life planning. Let me remind you that you don’t have to do everything at once. Grab one or two of these suggestions and plan for them little by little, but don’t procrastinate! You’ll be 40 before you know it, and then there will be another whole set of financial tasks to consider.
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