Hitting your thirties is like getting a reality check. You can no longer get away with partying endlessly and spending recklessly. You probably have more financial responsibilities and much less flexibility. But a few simply financial goals can help give you the direction and confidence to tackle the big things.
Your ultimate aim throughout your thirties is to consolidate and build your wealth. Whether you’ve bought a house or have a growing family to feed, building finances can sound like an impossible task. But careful prioritising can set you on a steady course.
Whether you’ve already bought a home or are looking to buy one, your thirties is the time to consolidate your most important asset. Purchasing a home is one of the most significant life goals Australians aim for today. Forty-one percent of household wealth comes from the family home, and 41% of people buy their first home between the ages of 30 and 39.
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If you haven’t yet bought a home, now is the time to devote a significant portion of your income to savings for a down payment. It’s best to make as large a down payment as you can – ideally 20% – so you have less to pay off in the future. A 2012 survey by Mortgage Choice found that first home buyers generally save for two years before buying a property, devoting on average 26% of their monthly post-tax income to those savings.
If you’re fortunate enough to have broken into the property market, you’ll want to devote a substantial portion of your income to paying off the mortgage. You can do this by refinancing a loan, reducing a 25-year term to 15 years for example, or by more informally contributing an extra $100 or so a month.
You spent your twenties building your skills and knowledge in a particular field, but if you’re looking to climb the corporate ladder, it might be worthwhile re-evaluating and refining your skill set. This could mean taking on more responsibilities at work, considering a career change, or even taking up further tertiary studies.
Let your boss know you’re keen to grow with the company and find out what you can do to best improve your chances of getting a promotion.
With more financial responsibilities in your thirties, you face much greater risk should you find yourself unable to work. You never know what life can throw at you, and the thirties is when you start realising this more than ever (just try pulling an all-nighter like you did in your twenties and see how you hold up the next day!).
An emergency fund balance is essential throughout your thirties if you want to stay afloat in a time of crisis. Aim at first to build one month’s worth of pay for an emergency fund and steadily increase that to six months. Check out MoneySmart’s wealth of resources to help you save money.
These days we’re lucky enough to have compulsory super contributions handled for us. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take control to optimise our finances.
Superannuation is the second largest component of household wealth behind owning a property, so it’s important you have a solid plan in place to grow its value. You can choose how to invest your super, whether it is in a high growth or conservative investment option. The more time you have on your hands before you retire, the less risk you face with the right investment choice. ASIC’s MoneySmart website has plenty of resources to help you make the right super decisions.
We’ve already said you have plenty more financial responsibilities in your thirties than ever before. Your income may have to cover a mortgage, a partner, and even several kids. That’s why making sure your whole household is covered should you lose your income (whether it’s due to death, injury or illness) is vital.
While your emergency funds can help you stay afloat in a crisis, Life Insurance takes the sting out of an unexpected event and can cover you for a whole host of extra expenses. Today, there is insurance for Life Cover, Total and Permanent Disability, Trauma, and Income Protection. Browse our website to find out what insurance is most relevant for you at this time in your life.
Budgeting is the best way to ensure you have enough to cover any expenses and have something spare for a bit of fun on the side. To budget successfully, you’ll want to have clear financial goals and an understanding of your everyday expenses.
Today there is a huge range of budgeting tools available online and through mobile apps. MoneySmart’s Budget Planner is an invaluable resource to help you figure out your budgeting needs, while its TrackMyGoals mobile app is a great way for you to record your expenses and savings while on the go. It’s available from the App Store and Google Play.
The thirties is a wonderful time in your life, so our final piece of advice is to enjoy the good times. Gone is the youthful angst of the twenties. Instead you have financial stability, a growing family, a booming career, and a lifetime of memories to savour. Make the most of it!