30 THINGS TO CONSIDER IN YOUR 30S
30 Things to consider in your 30s. In your 30s you’ll learn just how fragile Life really is. These are the years where you will say goodbye to people you care about in your life and hello to new faces. If you’re lucky, your family will grow by two feet.
I turned 39 last month. And as I prepare to exit my 30’s, I’d like to share some wisdom and experience with you. I want nothing more for you than for these to be the best years of your life – with no regrets. However, that requires planning. Without planning, you’ll find that things keep happening to you.
Your 30’s are a crucial time in your lif e because you have a whole new set of responsibilities. You have more people relying on you. You need to provide for your family, protect and nurture your children, and provide some level of financial security and predictability to your family. You might even have aging parents requiring your help. The decisions you make today don’t just affect you; they affect your wife or husband, your son or daughter, and so on. And if you screw it up, if you make a mistake, everyone will suffer.
So now that I scared the living crap out of you, here are:
30 Things to consider in your 30s
1. Work towards financial stability.
I truly wish that money didn’t hold the social importance that it does. However, the fact of the matter is: in order to live a comfortable life in today’s world, you need financial security. You should be constantly striving towards achieving financial predictability and stability in your 30’s. Having financial problems in your 30’s will erode your income potential, causing you to utilize revolving debt. Problems around managing your money is a leading cause of divorce, stress, and overwork.
2. Eliminate Limiting Beliefs
You can do whatever you set your mind to if you only have the heart to try and the mental fortitude to not give up. However, in your 30s you are going to discover that, along the way, you’ve acquired some beliefs. Some of these beliefs are yours, and some were imprinted on you from people you care about. The more you reinforce these beliefs, the more they have a hold of your world.
Eject negativity at every corner. You’ll be tempted to let those whispers in one ear and out the other. That’s damaging to your subconscious. Don’t let them finish. Stop people right away. In fact, say “Stop. Thank you but I don’t need this.”
3. Keep moving forward.
I don’t know where you are in your life, or what crucible you’re going through. Whatever it is, you will get through it. Problems are what makes us grow. They sculpt our soul and make us better, stronger… wiser. Life happens for us, not to us. As soon as you learn this life lesson, all the pain and suffering disappears.
4. Pick up a side hustle
Your 30’s should be a time for learning new skills and increasing your marketability, managing your resources better, and earning more money. A side hustle is an excellent way to make some extra cash and achieve financial stability. You can use this cash to pay down student loans and consumer debt faster. You can use it to travel and just live a more comfortable life. A side hustle can also make the loss of main hustle (your job) less of a financial blow. No clue where to start? Here’s a great article on 68 Side Hustles.
5. You’re never going to get what you don’t ask for.
Those were the words of wisdom that I learned from an officer while I was in boot camp. And sometimes, it’s just easy as that. Do you want a raise or a promotion? Need your husband to do something? Need good financial advice? Just ask. And keep in mind, you need to ask more than once. Be persistent. Most people with authority believe that if telling you NO once or twice stops you, it didn’t mean that much. It certainly saves them additional work.
6. Worry less. Take more risks.
“The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.” –Les Brown
Nothing great was ever created hiding in the shadows of fear. If you want to start your own business, climb a mountain, or just ask someone out on a date, do it. Someone probably has already done whatever it is you want to do. Do your due diligence, work hard, don’t make excuses, and be willing to fail. The worst thing that can happen is that you go back to what you were doing before.
7. Avoid keeping up with the Jones’
One of the best things about being in your 30’s is that you’ve most likely become established. Life is good and you are no longer struggling. Not only do you have your necessities covered, you can afford many of your wants.
The biggest problems people in their 30s get into is that they spend all their money. They buy nice things. They go on lavish vacations. They pick up expensive hobbies. They’re always going out to eat. When this becomes your lifestyle, you’re no longer moving forward. You’re no longer climbing the mountain. You’ve settled in the valley of mediocrity, where all the dirt and grime settles.
8. It’s not All About the Money
No job is not worth it living in a constant state of stress and fear. Neither is any relationship for that matter. If you’re miserable at your job or in love, find somewhere you’ll be appreciated more.
If you’re not in your dream job, find out what it’s going to take to get there. Create it if you need to. If you’re in a relationship that you know isn’t “the one”, end it right now. You might not want to hurt your partner, but you’re hurting them anyway. You’re giving them the false sense that you’re going to be together. What you’re doing is wasting both of your time and energy.
9. Find a Mantra
“Live. Love. Laugh.” That’s the mantra I’ve been marching for over 13 years. I don’t know why I took on a mantra but very happy I did. “Live your life doing what you Love to do, and Laugh along the way.” From that point on, I did just that. I didn’t accept anything into my life that didn’t embody that mantra.
10. Increase your retirement savings
Are you saving enough for retirement? A sneaky way to get ahead with your retirement savings is to increase your 401(k) contributions at work by 1%. Putting just 1% more of your salary into a tax-advantaged retirement account like your 401(k) or 403(b) could make a noticeable difference in your retirement.
11. Evaluate your Investment Accounts
It’s a good time to evaluate your investment accounts. The market has been incredibly volatile lately. How have you done in the last few months? Are your investments aligned with your over-financial strategy?
I review a lot of investment portfolios and many people are taking on too much risk for the returns that they’re getting. If your investments aren’t bouncing back from this bumpy market, or if your portfolio takes steep losses and steep gains, you might want a fee-only advisor to take a look under the hood.
12. Run leaner investments
The effects of fees on an investment portfolio are like the wind, sun and rain beating down on a painted wood. Over time, it’s damaging. I’ve seen fees in accounts as high as 2.95%. (1.5% management fee, 1.45% internal fees of mutual funds). If your financial advisor accepts sales commissions, you’re going to pay more in investment fees. I use commission-free investments for my clients because I have their back. If you’re uncertain of what you’re paying in investment fees, FeeX.com is a free service that will help you figure it out.
13. Perform a Money Cleanse
Over the years you’ve probably incurred a number of monthly fees, spent money habitually (morning coffee routine), or picked up some bad habits. I like to play a money game called, “The Money Cleanse”.
Log into your online banking and review your line by line transactions. Identify transactions that are recurring monthly, that appear frequently, or you’re just not sure of what it is. How much do these expenses total each month? Maybe you’re paying ATM fees or late fees. Evaluate all your subscriptions. Are your cable and phone bill high? Do you even watch television? Get rid of anything that’s unnecessary. Congrats, you just gave yourself a raise. Do this every six months and you’ll be a saving machine!
14. Negotiate your bills
Over the years, your insurance and utility bills increase and can get out of control. Call your cable and insurance companies and see if there’s anything they can do to lower your bill. Don’t worry, they’re expecting the call. They’ll do what it takes to keep you happy. If not, ditch them.
15. Keep Up With Your Home
Two kids and a dog can take its toll on your home. Make sure that you’re keeping up with the home maintenance. When was that roof last repaired? Are the gutters over-spilling and flooding your basement? Is mold growing in your basement? Keeping up with the maintenance will save you from having to do a major overhaul in a few years.
16. Save for your Kids Education
I often get asked, “When’s the best time to start saving for my child’s college?” My answer: Yesterday.
College expense is increasing by 6% annually. If you haven’t started a 529 Education Savings plan with your state, you should do so today. If you don’t have children yet, you should open a savings or investment account and automate savings to be designated for a 529 plan at a future date. Do not open a college savings plan with a financial advisor that accepts sales commissions. They will take 5.7% off sales commissions and your investments will have hidden fees.
17. Set new goals. Re-evaluate old ones.
By the time I hit my 30’s, I already completed the goals and plans that I had in my 20’s. But I didn’t set new goals for some time. I was on autopilot. It’s a good time to speak with your spouse or partner about setting some new goals and priorities. I know how having a family can change your priorities around.
18. Build that Emergency Fund
There are very few things in life that will help you sleep at night as having a pile of cash earmarked for emergencies. It’s a necessity in achieving financial security, which is a necessity in your 30s. I recommend opening a savings account with a credit union, away from your personal accounts that you pay bills with. You don’t want to be tempted to use a portion of this money for non-emergency needs.
Priority #1 should be to fund your emergency fund to $1,000. If you’re tight on cash, pay interest only on all your debts and get your emergency fund to $1,000.
19. Don’t become a stock picker
If you’re making good money, you might get tempted to buy stocks. You’ll find that the good stocks cost anywhere from $100 to $1000 per share. Avoid this. People always think that they’re smart and need to show it by uncovering the next Google or Microsoft. You’re not going to do it, and you’re going to lose thousands of dollars in doing so. I know a guy who purchased huge amounts of penny stocks just before they started to surge. He put in $10,000 into these penny stocks. When urged to sell and receive over $100,000 in profit, he bought more. Within a week, the stock crumbled and he lost everything. Your ego will get you in trouble with investments.
20. Simplify your financial life
Growing up, things were easy. All your personal possessions fit in a box. Your 30’s are when things start to get complicated. You have to make benefit elections at work. You need to pick investments in your 401(k). You’ve probably merged finances with a significant other. Now you have double the debt and need to consider tax consequences. You know you should have a will, and you always think about it before airplane trips. Getting financial planning help in your 30’s is such a good move. Most people won’t admit it, but they have no clue what they’re doing. Mistakes made around finances will cost you big time.
21. Create a Will
If you haven’t created a will yet, please do so. If you already have one, have it reviewed to make sure it still reflects your wishes. If you’re unfortunate enough to have been through or are going through a divorce, you’ll want to make sure that your money is protected from your ex-spouse and that your wishes will be carried out. Most divorced people will designate a sibling or friend as a beneficiary. This is a huge financial mistake.
22. Start Planning Around Taxes
Other than your mortgage, you’ll probably pay the most in taxes. Consult with a tax professional about doing your own taxes, if needed. A tax professional that works with your advisor can help you figure out the best ways to reduce your spending.
23. Get Life Insurance. Get More Life Insurance.
By the time you’re in your late 30’s, it might be time to evaluate whether you should take out another term policy. Chances are your term policy will be expiring in a few years, or you’re now underinsured.
24. Take Care of Your Health
Your health is one of your greatest assets. It’s more valuable than your time. Why? Well, if your health deteriorates, you’ll be out of time. If your health deteriorates, it doesn’t matter how much money you have, you’ll be poor.
25. Don’t spend time with people who don’t treat you well.
Undoubtedly, you’ll have come across some characters in your life. Many are fun and full of life. Others are wasting away in misery and want to drag you down with them. These people are your friends. They might even be your family. Be protective of what you feed your ears and your eyes. Don’t tolerate anyone that doesn’t treat you well. Don’t tolerate them out of financial need. Don’t tolerate them for your children.
You are the company you keep. If you hang around people that are miserable, they will suck the life out of you and you will be miserable. No need to make a big scene about it. Ditch them quietly. Avoid them if necessary.
26. Make new friends
Growth is life. Constantly strive to add new friends to your life. If you hang out with the same people all the time, you’re not growing. For some, this is an easy journey. For others, this can be quite painful.
27. Try Mini Vacations
Instead of going on lavish vacations costing $5,000 once a year, try going on several mini vacations at $250 to $500. You spend just as much but end up with 10x more memorable family moments.
28. Take Care of your Soul
Guy or gal, you need to nurture your soul and reflect from time to time. It’s all about having balance in your life. Take care of your mind, body and spirit. Meditate, exercise, and constantly reflect on all the decisions you’ve made. Soak up some Vitamin D. And listen to your body.
29. There’s plenty of time.
I remember turning 32 and a being a little disappointed that I didn’t have it all figured out yet. I’m going to tell you something that I wish someone told me. Chill out. There’s still plenty of time. Nobody has everything figured out yet. If you still have your inner child inside, embrace it.
30. Enjoy your life.
Your 30’s will be the best years of your life so far. These are the years to enjoy the fruits of your labor. You’ve hustled so hard to get to this point, and if you can afford some of life’s pleasures, include them in your budget and go do it. Don’t wait until your golden years, where you most likely won’t be as mobile, to invest into some positive memories.