The decade of your 30s is highly unique. You may buy a home, begin investing for the first time, or consider retirement in a new, more accurate way.
In your 20s, you may try to fit in as many experiences as possible. You might have focused on education, starting a family, traveling, or all of these things. Your 30s tend to be more about quality than quantity. This same idea applies to your finances. When people hit this age, they usually begin to think more long-term.
It’s the perfect time to begin working more seriously on your finances. It’s also the age when many realize how important investing and saving are.
While you may feel either behind or ahead with money by this point, rest assured that this decade gives you plenty of time to make a financial plan that works. Learning more about IRAs, real estate, debt, and income are great places to start. Here are the top life-changing tips for how to build wealth in your thirties.
Why Your 30s are the Best Time to Build Wealth
Your 20s may have been marked by education, climbing the corporate ladder, and the feeling that you had endless time. Your 30s are usually a bit different, but in a good way.
At around 30 years old, you’ve likely had some time to build up your career. In addition, you are probably working a job with decent pay that you enjoy. If not, the chances are that you either have decided what you want to do career-wise or are on the hunt for it.
Most people have ruled out what they don’t want and are more definite about what they want their lives to be about by now. Your financial plans are realistic and somewhat detailed. You know how much you want to make, even if you aren’t there yet.
Lastly, your 30s are still early enough in your career and financial journey that you have time to build wealth. You are mature enough to make long-term decisions.
Still, you also have a lot of time for compound interest, career changes, and saving money. You can grow your finances over many years, likely with prior experience.
What Should I Do Financially in My 30s?
Your 30s can be a clean slate. Even if you feel like you didn’t save enough in your 20s, it’s possible to catch up in the following decade. Or, if you did a great job of saving and investing, you might be looking at a pretty simple ten years financially. So check out what to do during this time of financial growth.
1. Live below your means.
I know, I know—boring. But it does help! Living below your means can make all the difference. It allows you to have extra money saved for when expenses come up. It also leaves you with additional investing opportunities. And to top it all off, you’ll feel more in control of your finances.
So… how do you do it? I’m guessing that by age 30, you’re pretty much over anyone telling you to give up your morning coffee in the name of saving money, so let’s look at some more realistic options.
Option 1: Drive an older car and don’t have a car loan. While some people want to show off their fancy cars, chances are they don’t own them free and clear.
You can be the exception. Since car payments can be hundreds of dollars a month, opt for an excellent, gently used vehicle that will be safe and dependable but doesn’t remind you of its price. You could save thousands a year.
Option 2: Use apps that save you money. Many apps will collect your spare change for investing or send you coupons for things you already buy. Why not save some cash? If you don’t need to pay the total price, don’t. Here are my favorite money-making apps.
Option 3: When you travel, be reasonable. You may think you’re entitled to jet off to Maui because you work hard and deserve it. I agree. But be practical about travel expenses. It means this: save where you can.
For example, if you have a work trip coming up, can you add a day or two for sightseeing? Fly economy instead of first class. Research restaurants and attractions so you know their prices in advance. Don’t give up vacations; be a wise and frugal travel pro.
2. Build your career
If you’re wondering how to build wealth in your 30s, advance your career. While others might think that they’ve worked hard enough already, you can quietly create opportunities.
Learn new skills, network, and continue to add value to your company. Then, go for that promotion or make a great career move to a different company entirely.
And why? Because building your career leads to a better job, higher pay, and more opportunities. So you want to enter your 40s with tons of job experience and skills that will make you valuable to employers. It can only help you.
3. Pay off all debt.
If there’s one thing you don’t want to take with you into the next decade, it’s debt. It will steal your time, energy, and hard-earned cash, especially with high interest. But you can prevent this by planning to tackle all debt as soon as possible.
Even if you have to work longer hours or side hustle for a short time, keeping yourself from carrying debt for the next ten or twenty years will be worth it. This can even include paying off your house, if possible. Because the less you pay for bills, the more money you can invest and save each year.
4. Save at least 15% for retirement.
In your 30s, saving for retirement is crucial. It’s okay if you haven’t started before this, but don’t wait any longer. You may want to save 15% of your income per year for your future and retirement. If 15% is too much, you can do less, although I’d recommend trying to earn a higher income instead. Or finding ways to spend less to contribute more.
This matters because retirement may seem far off now, but it gets closer every year. Suppose you save a good percentage of your income consistently.
In that case, you put yourself in a much better financial position when you no longer want to work or cannot. Since many recommend the 15% rule, it’s an excellent place to start, though more is better if you can.
5. Re-evaluate your insurance coverage.
While it might not be a prominent part of how to build wealth in your 30s, the fact is it’s the perfect time to update your insurance coverage. This includes your home or rental insurance, car, health, dental, vision, and any other type you have.
Re-evaluate if you’re overpaying for something you don’t use often or if it would be cheaper to pay for unexpected expenses without insurance. Things like dental or vision insurance may fall into this category, though it’s best to consult an insurance expert. Other things, like the car, health, and home insurance, are essential. Looking at your insurance policy is a smart move.
Talk with an insurance professional to ensure you’re completely covered and paying an amount that makes sense. This may mean paying more sometimes, but it will be worth having peace of mind. It could occasionally mean paying less if you choose to make some changes to your coverage, but do so with caution and after talking with an expert.
6. Diversify Your Investments
Diversifying your investments means that you are making a profit from multiple sources, or you expect to in the future. You aren’t expecting all of your earnings to come from one place. This gives you more financial security as well as more options.
Investing in your retirement account is excellent, but you need to consider what you’re investing in within that account. Check out the companies and stocks to ensure your risk level is correct and that you are invested in things that consistently give a good return.
In addition to your retirement accounts, you may look into some passive income sources with which you can get started. These can bring you extra cash in your retirement years. There are many ways to do this, including investing, real estate, entrepreneurship, and other methods.
You can get highly creative by diversifying your investments. The main things to remember are to do a lot of research, talk with experts, and make sure you understand anything you’re doing financially. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing money.
7. Double your household income
Doubling your household income can significantly increase your wealth. Aim to double your household income over the next decade, or sooner if you prefer. That way, your investment and savings rates can be higher.
You can start by moving up in your company, striking out on your own with a new business venture, or some other idea. Spend time thinking about how to make more money, and the pictures will come to you.