Published in: Banks | Aug. 12, 2019

Turning 30? Here Are 6 Financial Goals to Set for the Next Decade

By:  Lyle Daly

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These are the money goals you should aim for in your thirties.

Silver balloons that say 30 and twinkle lights

Image source: Getty Images

Your 30th birthday is a huge milestone in your life, both from a personal and a financial perspective.

You’re waving goodbye to your twenties, a time when you were in the setup phase of your adult life. With any luck, you’re now more established, making more money, and ready to take on some new financial goals.

To ensure that you’re on track for success in this decade and beyond, here are the financial goals that you should aim to accomplish during your thirties.

1. Build an emergency fund with six months’ worth of expenses

Hopefully you have at least some sort of emergency fund in a bank account to cover those expenses that you didn’t see coming. Financial experts usually recommend that your emergency fund has enough money in it to cover your living expenses for three to six months.

It’s smart to err on the side of caution and boost your emergency fund in your thirties. This is a time in your life when you’re likely going to set down roots in one place. You may buy a home or start a family, and once that happens, you can’t just move somewhere else or downsize if you have a financial crisis. For that reason, a strong emergency fund is a must.

2. Save at least double your annual salary in your retirement accounts

You don’t want to reach retirement age and discover that you must keep working because you didn’t save enough. To avoid that, you’ll need a sufficient retirement fund.

The earlier you get started with saving for retirement, the easier it will be to build a large nest egg. Having double your annual salary in your retirement accounts is a good minimum to aim for by the time you hit 40, as this means that you’ve been saving consistently and that your money will have plenty of time to grow.

3. Reach a credit score of 720 or higher

A credit score of 720 or higher is generally considered excellent credit, and achieving this will ensure that your credit doesn’t negatively affect your life. You’ll most likely be able to get the best credit cards, and if you need to move to a new apartment, you should qualify for the lowest deposit amount.

Your credit is especially important if you plan to buy a home, which often occurs during a person’s thirties. If that’s something you want to do, then you should aim for a score of 760 or higher. That will help you qualify for the lowest mortgage rates, something that could save you a substantial amount of money.

4. Pay off all non-mortgage debt

If you commit to paying off your debt now, it’s a decision that will pay dividends later in life. Less debt means you’ll free up more money that you can put into your savings, your retirement accounts, or that you can just use to enjoy your life more.

The first type of debt to focus on is credit card debt. Consumers often end up paying interest for years on their credit card balances, and it costs them a ton of money in interest.

Next, you can move on to any other types of debt you have. Student loans are good to focus on, as you don’t want to still be paying those off 20 years after you’ve graduated.

Although it’s great if you can pay off your mortgage before you turn 40, that may be an unrealistic goal due to how much homes cost.

5. Increase your income by at least 10%

You’re going to be approaching your peak earning years, which usually occur during a person’s forties. However, averages don’t mean a thing if you sit back and do nothing.

This decade of your life is the perfect time to take a step forward in your career. With at least five to 10 years in the workforce, you have the experience. Now, it’s time to look for advancement opportunities, either at your current company or by testing the job market.

How much you can increase your income will depend on your specific situation and background. 10% is a conservative estimate, so it works as a minimum, but go for more if you can.

6. Set up insurance to protect yourself and your family

You probably already have the basics, such as health, home, and auto insurance. While those are a good start, at this point in your life, you should also consider getting the following:

  • Life insurance -- This pays out to beneficiaries in the event of your death, and it will be cheaper the earlier in life you get it. If you have a family, it’s a must. Even if you don’t, a small life insurance policy can ensure that your loved ones don’t need to pay for your burial costs.
  • Disability insurance -- This provides income if you’re unable to work because you’ve become disabled.

Your twenties were probably when you learned the basics of personal finance, such as how to make a budget and track your spending. You may have made some mistakes, but that happens to everyone.

For your thirties, you can keep building on what you know and setting your sights on bigger goals. If you do that, you’ll be in a great financial position for the next half of your life.

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