The good habits you develop now can set you up for a safe and prosperous financial future.
If your 20s are all about no responsibilities and no worries, life in your 30s is when things start to get a little more serious. Big life changes like buying a house and starting a family bring with them added pressure and these extra responsibilities mean it’s time to start making some sensible financial decisions.
If you once lived paycheque to paycheque and putting even a small amount aside each week was a major achievement, it’s time to realise that the money decisions you make now could be crucial to enjoying a safe and happy financial future.
So what are the good money habits you should develop in your 30s that will set you up for the rest of your life?
Put money away regularly
Of all the good money habits you can develop in your 30s, this is the most important. Just because you earn money doesn’t mean you have to spend it all at once, so start putting aside a regular amount each paycheque.
Set up a regular direct debit from your transaction account into to a high-interest savings account. This means that when you’re paid every fortnight, a portion of that amount will automatically be transferred to your savings account where it can start earning interest.
There are even special accounts known as reward saver accounts or bonus saver accounts, which let you earn a higher rate of interest when you deposit a minimum amount each month and only make limited withdrawals.
And even if you’re not putting aside a huge amount each week, the effects of compound interest mean it’ll add up a whole lot quicker than you think.
Put money away regularly into a savings account
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In order to be able to comfortably put money aside each week without getting into financial difficulty, you will probably need to develop a budget. This can help you break out of the cycle of living paycheque to paycheque by helping you understand where you spend your money and when.
Consider all your expenses for the year ahead. Not just regular stuff like food and rent but those big one-off expenses like car insurance premiums and holidays. Writing everything down will help you to put money aside to meet larger expenses before they arise, learn where you can cut back and increase your savings power.
Contribute to your super
It can be hard to understand why you should worry about your super when you’re in your 30s – after all, it’s money you can’t access until you retire – but the contributions you make now can make a big difference to your retirement.
In addition to the regular contributions made to your super by your employer, it’s well worth your while to make extra contributions and beef up your super balance. This is a tax-effective way to help grow your nest egg, and thanks to the effects of compound interest, the earlier in life you start topping up your super the better.
Take control of debt
Got a baby on the way? Saving for a deposit to buy a house? If you want to take charge of your finances and be financially prepared to handle these major life changes, you need to bring your debt under control.
If you’ve had credit card debt hanging over your head for years, now is the time to pay it off. If you have an outstanding amount on a car or personal loan, pay off your debt before you start thinking too much about savings and investments. Interest payments on your existing debt can be a real killer, so work out what you need to do to get back in the black.
Consider your investment options
Last but not least, now is a good time to consider your financial goals and how you plan on achieving them. While savings accounts and super are a safe and steady way to save for the future and eventually your retirement, you may need to look elsewhere for larger returns.
From shares and managed funds to property and a range of alternative opportunities, there’s no shortage of ways to invest your money. Consider the available options and work out where will be the best place for you to safely store your nest egg – and remember to review your investments regularly to make sure they match your changing needs.
However, don’t forget that the higher the potential returns, the greater the level of risk you need to be willing to accept. Make sure you’re fully aware of all the risks involved before you commit your money and consider seeking out independent advice from a financial planner or adviser to help you make an informed decision.