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If you’re 30 or older, your probably feel like this is the time when you can finally start getting ahead for the first time. Sure, you’re probably still juggling student loans, car payments, and a mortgage but things are on the upswing.
If you’ve been coasting along without a plan, now is the time to change that — and take control of your financial future.
Here is some good news: A smart money plan doesn’t need to be overly sophisticated, complicated, or drawn up by an expensive advisor.
In fact, it’s much easier than you probably think.
10 Powerful – and Easy – Move Moves For Your 30s and Beyond
Whether you’re feeling right on track or even a bit behind with your long-term financial plan, we’ve got you covered.
Check out our 10 smart money moves for your 30s and put them to work for you today!
1. Build Up Your Nest Egg In Case of Emergencies
Let’s face it: you probably have a lot more responsibility today than you did 5 or 10 years ago. A partner, kids, cars, a home, and a pet or two are probably just the start of a long list of important parts of your life that you need to care for and protect.
It won’t take away any of the responsibility, but a strong emergency fund will help you sleep better at night. Most experts recommend saving around 3-6 months of your average living expenses, but hey – everyone has to start somewhere.
We recommend making sure you have a basic $1,000 nest egg – here are some ideas to get you there if you’re just starting out.
And when it comes to putting your emergency savings to work, don’t buy the temptation to invest the money. Your emergency fund won’t give you any peace of mind if you’re worried about losing it all when the market tanks.
Instead, we recommend you stash it away in a high yield savings account, where the money is safe but isn’t earning 0.01% interest. For just a $100 minimum opening balance, you can get a Premier High Yield Savings Account from CIT Bank — it offers a 1.55% APY, which is about 12-20 times greater than many other savings rates offered by other banks.
Looking for a bit more oomph? Check out the CIT Money Market account instead. With a $100 minimum opening balance requirement and an APY around 1.75%, it’s a great place to park your emergency fund.
2. Invest as Much as You Can For Retirement
Retirement might be the last thing on your mind right now, and that’s understandable.
But it turns out that compound interest is at it’s finest when you give it time to work. The longer you wait to start investing, the harder it is to achieve your goals.
Consider this example:
Rob and Dan are both 20 years old. Rob begins investing $250 per month, continues until he is 30 years old, and stops. Dan starts investing $250 per month at 30 and continues until age 60.
Does Dan ever catch-up? Take a look below:
|Rob’s Investments||Dan’s Investments|
Taking advantage of your 401(k) options at work is one of the best places to start investing, especially if your employer will match a portion of your contributions. Just be sure to avoid sinking your earnings into poorly-performing funds.
If you don’t have access to attractive 401(k) options, you should open an IRA and contribute as much as you can to your retirement each year. (FYI: The current annual max for contributions is $5,500.)
Word of warning: Managing your own account can be time consuming, and even if you put in hours and hours, it’s really easy to lose a lot of your hard-earned money. That’s why we recommend taking advantage of the combined tech advantage and human touch of tech-savvy advisor like WealthSimple.
In a nutshell, here’s how WealthSimple works:
- WealthSimple is an electronic investment advisor that selects a portfolio of low-fee funds designed to meet your personal investment goals. (Don’t have any goals? They’ll help with that, too!)
- Your money is invested across the entire stock market through Exchange Trade Funds (ETFs) to reduce your risk and diversify your portfolio.
- Research has proven that the methods employed by WealthSimple beat active investing strategies a whopping 96% of the time.
- WealthSimple will manage your first $5,000 for free!
3. Pay Attention to Your Credit Score
We’re going to stop short of worshipping at the altar of Equifax, but a good credit score opens doors. It can help you score better insurance rates, look more responsible when applying for a new job, and get competitive mortgage rates.
If you don’t know your credit score and debt to income ratio, here’s some good news: Credit Sesame will give you this info for FREE. It takes less than 90 seconds to sign-up, but the benefits keep coming:
- Credit Sesame will alert you if you’re overpaying on any of your loans and credit cards – and show you more efficient options
- Their Free Credit Report Card provides a big picture overview of your debt, terms, and other credit factors
- No credit/debit card information required – it’s 100% free, no strings attached
We can’t stress it enough: Reviewing your Credit Sesame report and making a plan to reduce your debt to income ratio is a no brainer if you’re looking to improve your financial status.
4. Get Creative and Boost Your Income
You can’t outearn wasteful spending habits, but earning extra money is a sure-fire way to speed up any financial game plan.
There are lots of ways to do it, but here at FinanceSuperhero, we’re all about the side hustle. It’s how we’ve managed to earn an extra $180,000 over the past 9 years.
Once you find the right side hustle for you, it’s amazing how quickly you can get out of debt, build your savings, or even have the freedom to quit your job or start a new career. Here are a few suggestions:
Door Dash – get paid to deliver food for big names like Wendy’s as well as local restaurants. You can work whenever you feel like it, and you get to keep the tips, too!
Online surveys – iSay, VIP Voice, SurveyRewardz, Pinecone Research, and MobileXpression – available on iPhone and Android – offer easy opportunities to paid for helping big name companies like Nike and Coca-Cola complete market research.
Airbnb – If you have extra rooms or are willing to rent out your house while you’re away, your home could be a goldmine waiting to happen. With AirBNB, you can set your own availability, house rules, prices, and start earning – it’s really easy to start earning a sizable chunk of change in just a few weeks.
5. Lock in Life Insurance Rates While You Still Can
Life insurance is often cheapest in your 30s, especially if you’re smart and lock in term rates. But do you really need it?
If you’re married and/or have kids – or anyone else who relies on the income you earn – then you absolutely need life insurance. The good news: you can lock in a large 20 year term life insurance policy for about the cost of family pizza night.
When my wife and I found out we were going to have our son, I started shopping term life rates with HealthIQ. They asked me a few questions about my medical history, physical activity levels, and preferred policy terms, then shared a variety of options. Following a simple in home exam, I was able to lock in a 20 year term policy that will secure my family’s future if I should pass away unexpectedly.
HealthIQ saved me thousands of dollars over the course of my 20 year term policy. I’m not the only one who has saved:
No, it doesn’t take a long time to get life insurance.
No, life insurance isn’t impossible to get if you take medicine or have items on your medical history.
And no, life insurance is not unaffordable. In fact, if you have anyone who relies on you, we firmly believe you can’t live without it.
If you want to put off everything else we recommend in this article, be our guest. But if you don’t have life insurance, for your family’s sake, check out your life insurance options now.
You’ll sleep better at night knowing your family will be taken care of if tragedy strikes, and that’s priceless.
6. Plan Out Your Savings Goals
While we’re working on improving your financial situation, it’s not too early to start thinking about long-term goals, too.
Now is a great time to plan for your future non-retirement based goals, like paying for kids’ college, moving to a new home, or taking that dream vacation. It might seem like those plans are too far away to even start planning, but if you begin setting aside even $10 per month towards these goals in your 30s, it will add up in a hurry.
The best part about starting early on long-term savings goals? You can actually afford to put the money into a CD (especially if you have 5-10 years) or money market account and have confidence that you won’t have to raid these accounts for other expenses (remember, you’ve already got your emergency fund on lock down at this point).
7. Don’t Overpay for Anything
In your 20s, paying extra might have felt like no big deal. Now?
It’s. A. Big. Deal.
When it comes to virtually everything – regular purchases, the cable bill, gym memberships – trust us, it literally pays to do your research – or have someone else do it for you.
Last month, we tried out a service called Trim after hearing about how much they had helped other users save on their cable and internet bills. We were skeptical, but we created our free account, uploaded our Comcast bill, and let Trim do it’s thing.
Trim saved us nearly $800 on our Comcast bill.
Trim can also help you find old accounts you didn’t know you still had, cancel unwanted subscription services, and even help you keep track of your monthly budget. You can learn more about Trim here.
And finally, if you’re not with the times and taking advantage of the most popular savings apps – Ibotta for groceries and more (they offer a $10 welcome bonus), Paribus for price monitoring after you buy, and Ebates for just about everything – it’s time to stop leaving money on the table.
These are free accounts that everyone should have – period.
8. Expand your Emergency Fund
By now, you get it: kids, a house, cars, and pets are expensive. Kicking your emergency fund up above 3-6 months of living expenses to increase peace of mind definitely can’t hurt at this stage.
If you really want to kick things into overdrive, opening up different savings accounts for different goals is definitely a smart money move.
9. Make Sure You’re Not Paying Too Much Mortgage Interest
In your 30s and beyond, mortgage payments are the biggest recurring expense for most people. If you bought your home in your mid-20s, you could be almost halfway through your 30 year mortgage and building up decent equity.
And this gives you an advantage many people overlook: the flexibility to refinance. If nothing else, it’s worth a quick look at LendingTree (options from up to 5 lenders) to evaluate your money saving options.
As a realtor, I see people who finally decide to sell their home and decide to get pre-approved for their next purchase express total shock at how low rates are today compared to 15 years ago. Even with rates on the rise, it’s a good time to check out your options.
10. Have a Little Fun With Your Money
Finally, it’s easy to get tunnel vision when saving, investing, and hustling towards your future. But it’s OK to let the purse strings loose a bit from time to time and spend money on the things that matter most to you. So take that vacation, buy a new patio set, or keep that weekly date night in place – you deserve it!
Recommended Money Resources
If you’re ready stop the madness and looking for a helpful, easy way to ensure that you save the money you are no longer wasting, check out a few of our favorite resources.
Ibotta: Ibotta is my favorite app for saving money and earning cash back on my regular grocery purchases. They recently upgraded their interface, making it even easier to save money. You can sign-up, earn a $10 welcome bonus, and earn money for referring your friends, too!
Acorns: I have been using Acorns as an experiment in micro-investing for several months and watched my account balance steadily grow. If you feel like you don’t have enough money to invest, Acorns is for you!
You can start with very small deposits and work your way up over time, if you choose. And if you sign-up using my link, you'll start off with $5.00 in your account automatically!
Digit: Digit is a personal savings assistant designed to help make saving money easier and automatic. Their mobile app and simple platform helped me and my wife save over $1,500, and we used the money for a vacation. Check it out here.
CIT High Yield Savings: Looking for a great place to park your hard-earned savings and earn more than a paltry .05% interest return? CIT Bank offers 1.55% on their High Yield Savings Accounts and only requires a $100 minimum opening balance! This crushes most other savings accounts by 10-12x!
CIT High-Yield Money Market: If you’re looking for an even better place to sock away your emergency fund or sinking funds, check out CIT’s High-Yield Money Market Account. Their 1.75% rate will put your fund to work in a hurry, and with a $100 minimum account opening balance, anyone can get started!