My most recent instagram question answered : I am in my thirties and concerned about my money.
I received a few questions recently regarding financial planning for people in their thirties. Firstly, there is no stereotyping one’s financial journey. Some people in their thirties may have risen to the top of their career ladders while others could be involved in a cash hungry start up or others could be returning to education. You may have found comfort in a steady pay check or you might still be enjoying taking risks with your career. It is helpful at this stage of your life to have a solid grasp of your finances and taxes. Also, you are mostly likely nearing the peak earning years and so you want to ensure you have healthy spending habits, you understand your tax affairs and you’re putting your money to work effectively.
To get and stay on track financially, consider these five important steps:
Watch how you are spending your money on a day to day basis:
Ideally you should save before you spend, not the other way around. Save at least 20% of your net income and spend the 80% balance. If you think this is impossible look a look at this infographic. These are simply averages, of course and it is important to find the place that is right for your personal circumstances. Could you make any trimmings here to ensure you are living within your means?
One of the most important things to note is that random coffees add up. I read recently that millenniums are now spending more money on coffees that contributing to their pension plan. €6 a day on coffee is over €2,000 a year. It’s too easy now to spend your money. From contactless payment methods to simply swiping up and saved banking details. Many people are unaware of how they are spending their money on a day to day basis. Budgeting Aps are easily available so you can plot how you are spending your money, or simply find our how to prepare a budget.
Perhaps amazon is your poison rather than coffees. You need to develop healthier spending habits. Do you really need all those items from amazon? Day to day expenses add up, you don’t need to be a millionaire just be good with the money you earn.
Plan for the future
You should already be contributing to your pension plan. The more you can set aside, the better. If your employer offers a pension plan you should contribute at a minimum enough to get the full employer match. It’s essentially free money if matched contributions are offered by your employer.
After this you’ll want to get into the habit of increasing your contributions consistently, either every year/six months. Set aside at least one hour of your time annually to review the policy either with your pension provider or financial adviser to see if the pension will meet your expectations at retirement age.
Set Savings Goals
Think about how you want your future to look. This again is different for everyone. Do you currently own a home? Are your savings on track to buy a home? If you are thinking of buying a house a bank or lender will always look more favourably on a borrower showing discipline on savings.
On the other hand, if you do have a home, have you enough of a rainy-day fund set aside? If you have these two ticked off, are you now investing your savings wisely? Investing your money is one of the best ways to build wealth and contrary to what many people believe you don’t need a lot to get started.
Much like an athlete going out to train. Create some money milestones and start saving towards these. The worst thing you can do is bury your head in the sand and hope for the best. Making a couple of good financial decisions now can make the goals of owning your own home or retiring early and having a decent retirement fund feasible. As always it is best to sit down with an accountant or financial adviser and ensure you have a good understanding of everything from your taxes, savings and spending habits.
Don’t take on too much debt
I’m not a fan of credit cards. If you are discipled to use it only for emergencies and pay it off in full each month, that is fine. Otherwise I would say get rid of it as the temptation to spend is too much for many people. The interest costs of credit cards are simply too high, and you could be saving this money and using it to achieve a financial goal.
Debt be it in the form of that trip to New York or trading up to a larger home may not be the best use of your money. Bear in mind the additional long-term debt costs that you are committing to, this keeping up with the Jones’s mentality means your goal of retiring early or reducing your hours or starting your own business may not be realised. Simply let go of the desire to acquire.
Invest in Yourself
Invest in your mind and self-development. You will see this included in my infographic above, but I think that this is critical and should not be a discretionary expense. Whatever your job description or your employment status. Spend time and money on your personal growth. Albeit in the form of coaching or education or finding a mentor. Aside from the benefit to your mental health, investing in yourself is the best investment you could make. You should never stop learning. Invest in yourself and the results are powerful.