You know what they say, the first 30 years of childhood are the hardest. 😉 Last weekend I turned the big 3-0. I told myself last year that I wasn’t going to get upset about turning 30, and I am proud to say that I didn’t. There is power in positive thinking! Plus as everyone knows, 30 is the new 20. So I really feel great about being 30. But financially speaking, turning 30 has given me pause. I accomplished some good things in my 20’s. I got a Bachelor’s degree, I traveled, I went to law school, and with my husband Danny, we paid off more than $100k in student loan debt. I had a LOT of fun. But I didn’t really get serious about my finances until later in my 20’s. Maybe your 20’s were kind of like that too. Or maybe you had a financial plan and stuck to it. Either way, to make your 30’s really count, you will need some goals. So here are 20 financial goals for your 30’s.
(1) PAY OFF STUDENT LOANS (OR OTHER BIG DEBT).
One of the most important financial goals for your 30’s should be paying off big debt that you probably accrued in your 20’s. For us, that means wiping out our $650k of student loan debt once and for all. We are saving thousands of dollars (literally) on our student loans by refinancing them with a private lender. Maybe that means the same for you. Or maybe you will receive public service loan forgiveness in your 30’s. Some of our interest rates are about half with a private lender than they would be if we kept them federally. You can check and see whether refinancing is a better option for you HERE.
(2) PAY OFF OTHER DEBT.
In addition to paying off our student loan debt, set a goal to pay off ALL of your debt in your 30’s. Maybe you have some credit card debt you’ve been holding onto. Maybe you have a mortgage or a car loan or some medical bills. One of your financial goals for your 30’s should be to become as debt free as possible. Living without debt is freedom. And what better time to be free than in your 30’s?
(3) INCREASE YOUR INCOME.
Another financial goal you should set in your 30’s is to increase your income. For example, my own personal goal is to double my income in my 30’s. This can be achieved through negotiating your salary at work, landing a new higher paying job, and increasing revenue from some of your side hustles. If you need ideas to increase your income, I have you covered here.
(4) HAVE A POSITIVE NET WORTH.
In conjunction with paying off debt and increasing income, one goal you should set for your 30’s is to have a positive net worth. Right now, we are DEAD LAST on this list of the net worth of many personal finance bloggers. We would like to not be last on that list. Our 30’s are an important time to not only pay off debt, but to start gathering assets.
(5) START SAVING FOR RETIREMENT.
If you didn’t start saving for retirement in your 20’s, now is the time to catch up! We have a teeny tiny amount of money saved, so our 30’s are going to be all about catching up on savings that we missed in our 20’s. Hey by the way, if you are still in your 20’s, it is not too early to be thinking about and saving for retirement!
(6) START COLLEGE FUNDS.
Once you have met some of your other financial goals for your 30’s, such as paying off debt and saving for retirement, you can and should start saving for your kids’ college. We actually have not come to an agreement yet on what we are going to do about college. I didn’t have help paying for college and I felt like it helped teach me life skills—side hustling, scholarship hunting, etc. But on the other hand, if I’d had help with college, I’m sure I would be singing another tune. So I go back and forth. We don’t want to create little entitled monster children, but we do want to help our kiddos in any way that we can. So we’re still on the fence with this one but we want to have the option in a few years, so we need to start saving now. And you should too.
(7) CREATE MULTIPLE STREAMS OF INCOME.
If you are going to achieve many of your financial goals for your 30’s, you are most likely going to need an increase in income that you simply can’t get from your day job. Which is why one of the most important financial goals you should work on in your 30’s is to create multiple streams of income. Ideally, these other sources of income should be passive income—things that don’t require a ton of attention but that earn money. If I could choose only one goal of this list of 20, this would probably be it because it leads to all good things.
(8) LIVE ON LESS THAN YOU EARN.
Hopefully your 30’s will be generous and you will be able to pay off debt and increase your savings and otherwise have an abundant life. Whether that is the case or not, you should continue to live on less than you earn. For example, even after we pay off our fat stack of $650k in student loan debt, we plan to live on far less than we earn. I am confident that it will be tempting to spend more once our debt is repaid, which is why we are committing now to continue to live on less than we earn. Living on less than you earn is CRITICAL to all of your other financial goals to accomplish in your 30’s.
(9) LIVE ON A BUDGET.
While you are setting financial goals for your 30’s, decide now that you will live on a budget throughout your life– no matter what your income is. I truly believe that no matter how wealthy you are, living on a budget is good for the soul. It teaches self-control and self-mastery – some of life’s greatest lessons. Obviously your budget can increase with increased wealth, but I believe in this principle so much that its one I want to commit to for life.
P.S. one of the easiest things we do to stick to our budget, is to use income earning websites and apps when we do all of our regular shopping. Read our short post on how to do it here—its fast and easy.
(10) CREATE A WILL.
(More accurately, set up proper legal strategies for your property upon your death)
Once you have some assets as a result of your other financial goals for your 30’s, you should create appropriate property distributions in the event that you die. And you will die at some point. Especially now that you are 30, you are closer to death than ever before 😉 Isn’t it awful that I am a lawyer and don’t currently have a proper will? To be fair, I also don’t really have assets (see goal #11), but there are a few things we own that we want to make sure end up in the right hands. The odds are that you are going to live a long healthy life, but now is a good time to start setting up the proper channels to take care of your family and dispose of your property at your death. And please don’t create a will on your own off of the internet. Taking care of your property and loved ones deserves the attention of a trained professional, and will likely involve more than just creating a will.
(11) HAVE SOME ASSETS TO PUT IN SAID WILL.
Once you are out of big time debt, your 30’s should be all about asset building. You want to have little golden nest egg nuggets that if something should happen to you or your family, you can call back on.
(12) ADVANCE IN YOUR CAREER.
Another important financial goal for your 30’s is to do your best to advance in your career. Set a mini goal to work really hard when you are at work. Do a good job when you are given a task. Complete your tasks thoroughly, with a good attitude, and as quickly as possible. Don’t waste time at work. Be the kind of person that you would want to hire. This will inevitably lead to earning more responsibilities (and income) at work. But it will also help you develop your skills, such that if you wanted to branch off and form your own business, you could.
(13) FIGURE OUT DISABILITY AND LIFE INSURANCE.
A lot of people in their 20’s put off figuring out what disability and life insurance is best for them. And you can kind of get away with that in your 20’s when you are young and aren’t responsible for anyone but yourself. But once you get a little older and or have a family, figuring out disability and life insurance is crazy important. It is definitely something that I have been putting on the back burner. Since I have never purchased either before, it is a bit overwhelming and it feels like there are a lot of opportunities to get taken advantage of. In the past, my husband and I have rationalized that if one of us dies or otherwise becomes disabled, we can rely on the other to work since we both have good earning potential. It has only recently occurred to us that if we BOTH die, or BOTH become disabled, we need to be able to take care of our kid(s). Insurance is important even if it does feel scammy 99% of the time.
We still have time on our side which makes 30’s a good time to start investing. We wish we’d been able to start while we were younger but we’ll start now!
(15) BE CONTENT.
I think a lot of people in their 30’s get sucked into “keeping up with the Jones’s” mentality. And I’ll admit that it is tough seeing people around you getting or doing more and more things. But as they say, comparison is the thief of joy. I am committing to being content with what I have. Not that I do not wish to grow and progress and make serious financial strides—but that I will not base those off of what my neighbors are doing. I will choose to be happy and count my blessings.
(16) EMPLOY BETTER TAX SAVING STRATEGIES (OR PEOPLE).
Now that you are in your 30’s, it is most likely time to start employing better tax saving strategies. In years past, my family’s taxes have been very simple. As we’ve taken on more business among other things, our taxes have gotten more complex, so it is time for us to employ some of that good book—the tax code—and work some strategy. I fully believe that there are some things in life that are DIY and some things that are not. Our taxes are starting to lean into the “not DIY” category, so when that time comes, we will happily employ the help we need for that. Don’t be scared to hire someone to do your taxes! 99% of the time they are going to know things that you don’t have time to learn. Hire them. Just be careful to vet your tax person– make sure you are hiring someone good and it won’t be a problem.
(17) FUND EMERGENCY SAVINGS.
If you don’t already have some emergency savings, your 30’s are a great time to put a little extra money away for a rainy day. Right now, we budget a little bit of money each month for emergencies. It is such a small amount, and/or we have so many emergencies, that we constantly use it up. Include this among your financial goals for your 30’s –have a legit emergency fund, that is not constantly depleted.
(18) USE TIME MORE WISELY.
Money is important. You can do a lot of things with money. You need money to pay bills and take care of the people in your life. But time is infinitely more important to me. Time is something you can never get back once its gone. I have been more keenly aware of time as I have watched M grow and learn so quickly. I know that before I even realize it, he’s going to be off on his own. So as much as we love our careers, I want to be more aware of time in my 30’s—recognizing that this is a phase of life that we will never get back. I want to savor it. That means, I want to spend less time on menial tasks or other tasks that can be delegated out. We might not be able to drastically increase the amount of time we have together, but we can surely increase the quality of time.
(19) GIVE MORE.
Another key to setting financial goals for your 30’s is to seek to become the kind of person who GIVES more. Right now we pay a 10% tithing to our church. And if I’m being honest, that is about all we give. One of our greatest financial goals for our 30s is that we would really like to give much more—not just to our church but community, people in need, etc. As we break free from our student loan debt, we will give more money away. It just feels good.
(20) LIVE MORE.
You should also set seemingly petty financial goals for your 30’s. There are a few things that we have always dreamed of. So, in addition to working harder and smarter and earning more money and paying off debt and all of that good stuff, we have goals to:
- Buy a beach house. We actually set this goal when M was born that we wanted a beach house by the time he was 10 J
- Buy a boat. There is no greater family bonding than family boating.
- Travel to 5 new places (one new place every other year). We want to instill our family with a love of travel and experiencing different ways of life.
As you can see, there are PLENTY of financial goals that you can work on in your 30’s– starting today. Sit down and set some goals and get to work on this list. Your future self will be oh-so-grateful. And especially don’t forget while you are getting all you are getting, to make sure that you aren’t becoming a slave to the Almighty Dollar. Take time out of your busy schedule to be with the ones you love. Go on some vacations. Exercise. Live your life for YOU and for the people you love.
What are some of your financial goals? To you wise folks already in your 30’s and beyond, what have we missed? What should we want to accomplish in our 30’s?