Personal Finance

30 Tips to Accumulate Wealth in Your 30s

happy young man moneyYou’ve said goodbye to your 20s and hello to your 30s. Now is the time to start thinking about how to accumulate your wealth as you build upon the skills and knowledge you’ve gained in your 20s. The actions and routines you adopt now will serve you well and improve your monetary outlook for decades to come.

Making the transition to this new phase of your life is going to require a different outlook, some smarter strategies for saving your money, and making the right moves when it comes to investing. It’s about taking a practical approach to the way you manage your money and the shrewd decisions that come with it.

If you haven’t thought much about your financial future (and let’s be honest, how many 20-somethings are really looking that far ahead of them), now is the time to begin.  These 30 tips can serve as a reliable guide for choosing the right path to wealth management in your 30s and beyond.

1. Pay Down Your Debt

You probably accumulated some form of debt in your 20s and perhaps even came up with a plan for paying it down. Hopefully that’s been implemented by now.  If so, don’t let up on the gas just yet.

You may be dealing with student loans, credit card debt, or something else, and those interest rates aren’t going to get lower any time soon. If you haven’t put your plan into action, then there is no time like right now to do it.

You can’t put this off any longer if you plan on building any kind of wealth in your 30s. Get rid of that debt now so you can move on with your life already.

2. Don’t Go Wild

Your 20s may have been filled with sacrifice and hard work. You put off large expenditures and scrimped and saved on everything from your car to your home to the food you put in your body. As tempting as it may be, now is not the time to reward yourself for all of those hardships you endured throughout college, internships, and entry-level jobs that barely paid you enough to keep the lights on and prevent you from going hungry.

Delay a little longer and you’ll reap the benefits later. That’s not to suggest you still need to live in that tiny studio apartment, but don’t go buying a house you can’t really afford just yet.

3. The Myth About Real Estate

You may be thinking of buying that house because you’re under the impression it’s going to be an asset for you. In reality, it’s most likely going to be a liability considering how much you’ll be paying on a mortgage and home maintenance costs every month.

If you really want to buy a home, consider doing so with the intention of renting it out so that it brings in revenue instead of representing a drain on your wallet. At that point you also need to think about if you really want to be a landlord. That’s a tougher proposition than most people realize and, unfortunately, they often realize it too late.

4. Prioritize Your Spending

As you grow older, the things that matter most will often change. In your 20s it was all about going out and having fun. Partying trumped responsibility – and that’s to be expected. Now that you’re in your 30s your priorities may very well be different.

Instead of going out you may want to travel more.  Perhaps you’re considering starting a family or maybe you’re thinking about starting your own business someday. You know, grown up stuff.

Now that you’re a full-fledged adult, your budget needs to reflect your new hopes, dreams, and goals. Your money will begin to grow and, without making some decisions as to where it needs to be allocated, you are likely to mismanage those funds.

5. Build a Budget

You’ve made the decisions as to what’s important and what is no longer necessary in your life. It’s time to build a financial strategy to take these things into account so you can budget properly for the foreseeable future.

By now you’re no stranger to budgeting your monthly finances.  Most of us had to learn how to do it in our teens and those of us who didn’t catch on as quickly figured it out by the time we were in college. However, your monthly budget is more important now than ever if you’re going to start putting money away for your future.

risk insurance6. Reconsider Your Insurance Coverage

The more wealth and worldly possessions you obtain, the more important of a role insurance will play in your life. That’s a simple fact and you better just accept it now so that you can get a jump on finding which policies fit you best.

Whether it’s renter’s or homeowner’s insurance, the likelihood that you will need one of policies is going to increase exponentially as you prepare for the unthinkable. The same goes for other things like life insurance so you can keep your family financially stable in the event of your untimely death.

Chances are you already have an auto policy for your vehicle and you may have more than one by now. No time like the present to shop around and compare rates. You might find something cheaper for the same coverage, but you won’t know unless you do some research.

7. The Emergency Fund

Hopefully you’ve set aside some extra money in the event of an emergency or other unexpected expenditure so you’re not left destitute in case something catastrophic takes place. For most people, a good monetary cushion is equal to about three to six worth of living expenses.

As your budget increases, and your net worth along with it, you’re going to want to contribute more to your emergency fund to keep pace with your changing financial picture. Not doing so could eat into your assets more than you might think.

8. Focus on Your Career

Now that you are in your 30s, it’s time to shift gears and decide on a career path that will best reflect the skills and knowledge you’ve garnered throughout your 20s. It’s likely you’ve already embarked on that path by now, but if you’re one of the many people out there who just don’t know what they want to do yet, it’s time to commit.

Perhaps you want to try a variety of different things or have a finger in many pies.  That’s fine, but you need to build a foundation upon which future earnings can be securely based.

9. Take Some Initiative

Don’t sell yourself short when you’re working along that career path, either. Finding a job just because it pays enough to make ends meet and keeps a roof over your head isn’t enough.

You’re looking to accumulate wealth and you want to be challenged, so it behooves you to put a greater emphasis on getting a job that makes you more than just an employee.  Find something where you can put the best of your abilities to use in greater ways than merely completing your daily tasks. You want to make a difference in what you do every day, otherwise why bother?

10. Saving is Your Top Priority

You may have prioritized your monthly expenses, perhaps even done away with any vices or other routine expenditures that were no longer important, just to get your budget in tune with your long-term financial goals. Before you spend another dime, be it on your cable bill or some other expense that you’ve deemed necessary, you need to be sure you’re saving enough every month.

This is your number one priority, even if it means forgoing HBO for a while or putting off any other vital expenses along the horizon. The goal is to put away as much as 20%-30% of your income before taxes.  If you’re not doing that, then you’re not saving as much as you should in order to accrue wealth.

11. Devise a Retirement Strategy

You plan on retiring someday. If you start investing for that day now, then it’s going to come much sooner. There are a number of ways to do this, but the most common method is by contributing to a 401(k).  Some employers even offer to match whatever deposits you make on your own.

Most of these funds have an automatic enrollment program of around 3% which is taken from each paycheck and sent directly to the fund. Find out if you have this option at your job and make the most of it. Contributing the maximum amount and having your employer adding the maximum they offer on their end is a good start.

12. Track Your Spending

It’s all too easy to get in a financial hole with the amount of credit and debit cards we have in our wallets and purses. If something comes along you just whip out your card and voila, it’s yours. But those expenditures can quickly add up and, before long, you’ve spent more money than you expected.

Be sure to keep all of your credit card and bank statements and review them each month to see where you spent intelligently and where you spent extravagantly. Getting a grip on your spending habits can help you curb the behaviors that are taking more money out of your pocket each month. Once you identify the ways in which you splurged you can avoid making the same mistake in the future.

13. Track Your Credit Score

Your credit score is an extremely important component of your financial picture.  This is why it’s crucial that you check it annually. You can obtain a free report from the three major bureaus once a year that will provide you with an accounting of your current credit situation.

Whether or not it’s accurate is another story as there could be errors that are contributing to a score that is lower than you deserve. You can also catch any fraudulent activity before it gets out of hand or tend to any delinquencies that exist. Once you get into this habit you can clean up any problems to improve your score and ultimately pay less on interest for the things you want to buy.

14. Cut Out Extra Expenses

If your budget isn’t quite getting it done in the saving department each month, you may want to reconsider some of your monthly expenditures. Disconnect your cable and find your television shows and additional entertainment choices in other ways. The Internet has so much to offer now, including TV programs on-demand, that you could do without dropping nearly $150 a month on your cable.

Find additional places to trim your budget as well.  Checking out those credit card and bank statements mentioned above should give you some good ideas of where to look.

just say no notebook15. Say “No”

If friends or family ask to borrow money or need you to cosign for a loan, the answer is “no”. It doesn’t matter how small the amount; you don’t need the hassle of chasing that person down to get that money back from them. That’s money that could be going to your savings.

This is even more important for anyone who wants you to co-sign a loan with them. What do you think is going to happen when your reliable friend or relative can’t make the payment that month – or ever again? That’s right, the bank is going to turn to you, the co-signer and it’s going to be your problem to pay that loan off.

You don’t need the headache, no matter how much he or she assures and promises that you’ll never have to worry about it. Here’s a reality check, you likely will…otherwise why would that person need a co-signer in the first place?

16. Start Cooking Your Own Meals

You’re in your 30s now, and it’s time you learned how to cook! This isn’t to suggest you need to be Gordon Ramsay overnight, nor do you need to know how to make coq au vin.  You should, however, at least know the basics and how to perform them without burning down the kitchen.

Having some knowledge of how to cook your own meals is a sign of maturity, a way to eat healthier, and, also important, it will help you save money. When you cook at home you spend less on food, opting to buy groceries at the supermarket instead of paying extra to have someone else prepare and possibly even deliver your lunch and dinner to you. You’ll find that with practice, meal planning and cooking are easier than you thought.

17. Teach Yourself More

Cooking your own meals is just the beginning of saving money through autonomy. You can do more by teaching yourself how to do things that need to get done around the home and taking steps to avoid spending money when unnecessary.

Minor repairs can be done much cheaper with just a visit to Google or YouTube.  Try making things you might normally buy from the store.

Always, however, be sure you remain safe at all times and know your limits. However, if you need to replace a pipe or a hose on your car or at home, check to see if it’s something you can fix yourself before you pay someone else to come in and do it for you.

18. You Don’t Have to Go Back to School

Many people think they can make more money if they get more education. These two things don’t always go hand in hand.  Unfortunately, you won’t realize it until you’ve spent the money on pricey higher education courses.

That practice was prevalent in your parents’ day, but that’s not how things go down in today’s job market. A degree can certainly help place you in a top job, but there’s more in play now besides your education in determining whether or not an employer wants to hire you. So consider all your options for advancement before enrolling in any degree program or expensive course.

19. Shop Smart

How many of us go to the supermarket or Target to pick up a few things and come out with much more than we intended to buy? We’re all guilty of it from time to time, but it’s not such a good habit in the long run.

When you go shopping you should establish a budget of how much you plan to spend.  Going over that number isn’t just a lack of discipline, it’s dangerous to your bottom line.

So start shopping smart.  Just because you see a great deal on something doesn’t mean you must buy it. Leave it on the shelf and focus on what you came here for in the first place.

20. Be Bored

How you spend your down time can say a lot about you. Sure we all need a break from our lives, but some of your best ideas can come to you when you’re bored.

Put aside the smartphone and the video games and be more constructive with your free time. It may lead you to that huge million-dollar idea that will keep you from ever having to work again. Managing your time properly is a good indicator of how you’ll manage your money.

21. Take Advice with a Grain of Salt

Now that you’re in your 30s, everyone you know may have some advice on how to manage your money or the types of investments to make. Here’s a tip: don’t listen to any of them and, if you do, be sure to trust but verify and do your own research.

You may find that most of that “advice” isn’t worth much at all.  Be sure to question everyone and everything you hear regarding your money because the one who stands to lose the most is you.

22. Starting a Family

You may want to have kids someday, but the question to ask yourself is if that day is right now or is it further down the road. The best way to answer this is by figuring out how much kids are going to cost and if you’re ready to take on the additional expenses.

Bringing a child into this world is a massive responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  It’s absolutely critical that you are ready to meet the many challenges, financial and otherwise.

23. Avoid Keeping Up with the Joneses

It can be all too easy to compare your life and the things you have to that of your neighbors, friends, and even members of your family.  Don’t do it.

This will lead you to live beyond your means as you try to compete and that’s no way to live your life. Be happy with who you are and what you have.  You can certainly strive for more, just don’t try to keep up with someone else.

24. Your Retirement Strategy May Be Insufficient

We’ve discussed your 401(k) in brief, but as you get into your 30s it might be time to seek out other investment options for your retirement. That 401(k) may not be enough to keep you and your family living comfortably after you retire. It’s always good to re-examine your portfolio on a regular basis just to see if you’re doing all you can for your nest egg.

25. Time to Diversify

Speaking of your investment portfolio, now is the time to think about things like diversification and risk assessment. As you reach your 30s your financial outlook might be somewhat more stable.  You have some money set aside for a rainy day, and you’re bringing in more than you are spending.

Now is a good time to rethink your investment portfolio and find ways to branch out into other types of investing scenarios.

26. Understand that Time is Money

It’s not enough to just manage your money, you also need to manage your time. We’ve made similar points up until now but the most important thing to remember is that your time is valuable and you must treat it in the same careful manner as you would your money.

You’ve gotten older now; you need to focus more closely on the things that really matter and set aside those things that pale in comparison. When you waste your time, you waste your potential and that can affect your bottom line.

27. Create a Will

It may sound strange, you’re not even close to the end of your life, but making out a will is a good thing to start working on in your 30s. It not only declares what your final wishes will be with regard to your estate and how your family will be provided for in the future, but it’s an important document to help you plan for the inevitable while you’re still on this Earth.

28. Seek Help

Whether it’s from good friends or a good financial adviser, find someone in whom you can trust and bounce ideas off of when it comes to your money. Financial professionals should be thoroughly vetted before you decide to work with them, but when you do find someone you feel has your best interests at heart, feel free to tap them for some pointers on where to put your money next

29. Make Time for Family

You can save and scrimp and work yourself ragged to amass sizable wealth, but none of it will matter if you can’t spend some quality time with your loved ones. If you have kids, be a part of their lives and watch them grow up. Don’t spend all of your time watching your investments grow instead. You will regret it later.

30. Trust Your Gut

When all else fails, rely on your instincts. They are usually right in almost every case. If something seems too good to be true, it is. If something doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t. Trust your gut – it can be a powerful ally in your quest for financial security.

Our Final Thoughts

These are just some of the many tips you can follow to develop a healthy nest egg in today’s uncertain world. Getting started on some of these now will make this decade, and those that will follow it, more comfortable and financially secure for yourself and your family. Your 20s are over, and it’s time to get serious! As you gain a stronger grip on your monetary outlook, you’ll find that these tips will serve to focus your attention on the important issues concerning your wealth.

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