When you are a kid and into your mid-teens, your parents are the ones who handle the money. When you are in our late teens into your early twenties, you start handling your own finances. During your 20’s, it is not uncommon to make a financial mistake here and there. These mistakes can be frustrating, but they are great learning experiences. By the time you turn 30, you should no longer be making financial mistakes. There are several money skills that you should have mastered by this time.
Set and Stick to a Budget
When you are younger, setting a budget doesn’t seem like much fun and it can be hard. When you get older, however, you need to start being more responsible. There comes a time when you have to stop asking your parents to bail you out of you financial messes. That should stop before you turn 30. While setting a budget is important, sticking to it is just as important. Living on a budget may not be much fun, however, it will keep you out of debt.
Stop Spending Your Whole Paycheck
When you set a budget, you make sure that all of your bills are paid and that you can purchase the things that you need. Once this is done, it doesn’t mean that you need to spend whatever money you have left. There is nothing wrong with leaving some of your money in the bank. It is actually recommended. If there is money leftover, there is nothing wrong with treating yourself once in a while, however, you shouldn’t feel the need to spend every dime that you earn.
Setting Financial Goals
When you are in you late teens and early 20’s, chances are you daydream about the day that you are able to buy a house or the day that your student loans are paid off. Before you turn 30, it is a good idea to take these dreams and turn them into financial goals. By now, you should be making money. If it is your goal to buy a home, set a realistic goal of when you want to have the money saved to do so. Whatever it that you are hoping to have in the future, now is the time to start setting realistic goals.
Understanding the Importance of Your Credit Score
By the time you turn 30, you should be able to understand how important your credit score is. You should also understand what types of things can bring your score up and bring your score down. Maintaining a good score throughout your life is very important. Your credit pays a huge part in getting a mortgage, car loan, and credit cards.
Realistically Accessing Your Debt
By the time you are 30, you should be able to have a realistic understanding of your debt, as well as plans to get out of debt. If you have credit card debt, your goal at this point should be to get out of debt. This means understanding which cards to pay off first and your options when it comes to consolidating your debt onto a card with a lower interest rate. When are able to start effectively paying down your debt, you will have more money to put toward reaching the financial goals that you set for yourself.
Understanding the Importance of an Emergency Fund
When you are in your late teens and early 20’s and your car breaks down, you can call your parents for help. When you are getting ready to turn 30, this should no longer be an option. This is why you should understand the importance of having an emergency fund. When you put money aside each week, you won’t need to call your parents when your car breaks down.
Understand the Importance of Saving for Retirement
By the time you turn 30, you should be saving money for your retirement. If your employer offers a 401K plan or an annuity, you should take advantage of it. If not, there are several private funds that you can use to start saving for retirement. Many people go through life depending on Social Security to keep them going when they are old enough to retire. Unfortunately, we don’t know what Social Security payments will be like in the future. Also, the monthly payments from Social Security likely won’t be enough to allow you to continue living your current lifestyle. It is very important that you start saving for your future early.
By the time you turn 30, you should be on your way to being a financial mastermind. Unless you were a finance major in college, you likely won’t be able to master the stock market and become a millionaire, however, you should be able to keep yourself on track financially.