Last month we talked about money mistakes we make in our 20s and how to avoid them. Throughout the next decade of life there are different, but just as troublesome, mistakes you’ll want to keep an eye out for.
If you’re in your 30s, you’re probably seeing a more solid future taking shape. Perhaps marriage and/or a child is on the way. You might have a job in which you see yourself staying for a while. Whatever your current position in life may be, there are financial potholes you’ll want to sidestep in order to increase the chances of a secure future.
From relationships and children to jobs and investments, here are the top 5 money mistakes you’ll want to avoid…
Top 5 Money Mistakes
Most people in their 30s still feel like retirement is too far into the future to be a concern. This leads to spending (or saving) money for things that can jeopardize your financial future. You might buy the big house or the dream car, thinking that your retirement savings can “wait”. Then, when retirement comes, you’ll have a big house and a nice car, but no savings to generate income.
You might even put all of your savings into your children’s future education. While your children’s education is important, your number one priority should be your retirement so that your children don’t have to support you in the long run. That could end up costing them a lot more than paying off student loans. Once you feel secure that your retirement savings (and investments) are on track, you can use some of your additional funds to help with your children’s education.
No Pre-marriage Money Discussions
When searching “conflicts in marriage” online, one of the top 5 items within each search result has to do with money. If finances and budgeting is not discussed before marriage, financial problems can arise once the honeymoon is over.
To help avoid money issues after tying the knot, communication is key before getting married. The sooner the conversation takes place, the better. It’s important to learn about each other’s financial background – debts, investments, budgeting techniques, etc. This will help you both understand the differences and similarities in how you manage money. You can then talk about whether you want to merge finances or keep them separate. Depending on the result of that conversation, further discussions should take place so that money doesn’t become a major point of contention in your marriage.
During your 20s is typically when you start a new job(s) and begin to enjoy professional and financial growth. According to Forbes, a typical worker sees their pay increase by 60% by the time they hit 30. In your 30s, this growth slows about 2% a year and may even decrease. Based on your personal situation (family obligations, debts, monthly bills, etc.), this decrease in pay raises can affect your financial situation in a lot of negative ways.
Try not to allow complacency to invade your career development. Keep aware of the top trends in your industry, enhance your list of certifications, look around for potential career opportunities and continue to invest in your potential development. When you’re making more money and also happy in your career, you’re more likely to have a solid financial future.
You never want to be “insurance poor” which is when you’re paying so much for unnecessary insurance products that you have no money left for anything else. However, you do want to have certain types of insurance that help protect you (and your family, if you have one) in case an emergency hits. Many 30-somethings put off getting insurance because they think it’s complicated or they don’t need it. Both of these concepts are false – and you’ll realize that if you get the right advice from a good insurance advisor.
The three types of insurance that should be considered requirements are: health, disability and home (if you own a home). If you have a family, you might want to consider life insurance. If you’re a renter, renter’s insurance is definitely something you might want to speak with an insurance advisor about. It could save you thousands of dollars down the line.
Investing is extremely important throughout all phases of life. However, while you’re in your 30s it’s important to think about the extent your investment strategy should lean towards growth, as opposed to a more conservative mix.
Investing also depends on your “risk tolerance” – the amount of market risk, especially the volatility of the market that you can take. Before investing, you should determine your risk tolerance so that you know how much money you can stand to lose should the market turn bearish (get lower). Some people have a tolerance of a 20% loss while others have a tolerance of only 5%. Once you determine your risk tolerance, you can better establish your investment strategy.
See how others worked to avoid the 5 major money mistakes, no matter what their age. Visit myFICO forums to find some tips and advice.