Financial wellness is important at any age. We’ve talked about what 20-somethings ought to focus on, but as your financial priorities mature and evolve, what priorities should be on your radar in the next decade of life?
In honor of Financial Wellness month, here are some financial wellness tips for people in their 30s.
Continue managing your debt.
Many people in their 30s are still paying off student loan debt. Since student loans generally have a lower interest rate, it often makes sense for people to pay off higher-interest debt first, like credit cards. Make paying down high-interest revolving credit a priority, but once you’ve achieved that you can turn your attention to your student loans and start paying down that debt more quickly. Meanwhile, make wise use of those credit cards by using them only for big-ticket items, making sure to pay off balances every month.
Take steps toward successful home ownership.
The average first-time homebuyer is about 33 years old, according to Zillow. What’s more, they spend about six years paying rent and saving toward a down payment before making a home purchase. In addition to saving for a down payment, you’ll need to keep your credit healthy to ensure you can get the best possible interest rate on a mortgage when you’re ready to buy a house.
Build your emergency fund.
Many Americans have a child while in their late 20s, so by the time you enter your 30s you could have some big responsibilities — kids and a new home. When you have either of those things, you’ll also have emergencies, so it’s critical to have money saved up to handle any crises. Build your emergency fund so that you have enough cash on hand to cover several months’ worth of expenses.
Continue saving for retirement and reassess your priorities.
Hopefully you began saving for retirement as soon as your professional life began. If not, now is the time to get started. Enroll in your employer’s 401(k), look into an individual retirement account, and learn the basics of smart investing. If you’ve been saving all along, reassess your retirement plan at least once a year, and more often if you experience a significant life change such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, or a job change.
Begin saving for your child’s college education.
Ideally you should open a college education fund for your child the day you bring him or her home from the hospital. If you haven’t already, it’s time to do so. Look into a 529 that can help grow your child’s education fund and learn about other options for saving for a college education.
For most people, their 30s are the years when they really put down roots, start increasing their earnings, and build their assets. Taking steps to nurture financial wellness can help smart money management become a lifelong habit – one that will continue to pay off well into your retirement years.