Thu 01 Mar, 2018
5 Financial Changes to Make in your 30s
As your twenties draw to a close, you might find yourself battling waves of nostalgia of the life that was. Days when you lived payday-to-payday, could handle more than 3 beers and thought 2am was an early night.
Sadly, it has to end somewhere. Your thirties are a great chance to take control of your finances, and while you might be kicking yourself for leaving it so late, it’s really not all that bad.
Getting serious in your 30s leaves you plenty of time to plan for retirement, so try implementing these five financial changes to get savings savvy in your fourth decade.
No, that’s not a typo. For many of us saving in our younger years generally pertains to a shorter term goal. Things like travelling, study and one-off ‘splurge’ purchases may have had us stashing the cash for a few months, at which point the goal is reached. Sure, you might have lived like a peasant for 6 months to save $7k for your Europe trip, but that type of saving generally isn’t sustainable.
It’s kind of like a diet – make small changes for long term results. When you reach your thirties, your attentions may be turning to longer term goals. Financing your kids through study, perhaps, taking family holidays, renovating your home. Switch up your savings plan to include smaller incremental contributions.
You’ll feel the pinch less, and saving won’t feel as much like a chore. Say when you’re 50, your kids will be 18 and desperate for a car. Saving just $10 each week from your 30th birthday to your 50th birthday will add up to $10,400 – before any compound returns and interest is added on. There’ll be enough in the pot for a set of wheels, ready and waiting.
It’s also wise to set up a ‘rainy day’ fund. This account should be completely unconnected to your transaction account, to stop you dipping into it until you really need to. Contribute small, regular amounts to this account, so that when unexpected ‘boring’ costs come up, you’ve the cash flow available to pay for it. Things like car breakdowns, vet bills and medical expenses can all be funded with this account.
Contribute Extra to your Super
These incremental savings can help grow your retirement fund, too. Talk to your employer about contributing a little extra from each pay packet – you can reduce your taxable income this way, too.
There are often Government incentives for making additional contributions, so dedicate your thirties to tuning into these changes. Paying in at the right time can score you generous extras.
Cut Out Unconscious Spending
The odd working lunch here and takeaway coffee there is fine – you’ve got to live your life, after all! But your thirties is a great time to cut out unconscious spending. It’s similar to the small savings – cutting out small spends can also add up to big changes. Look at things you spend money on regularly, and see if you can cut that down, or cut it out completely.
For example, if you spend $100 a week on food, see if you can switch up some items to reduce this to $70. If you buy lunch out every day at work, try and cut down to one or two days per week. Making small, regular changes will feel less of a sacrifice, and make a bigger difference than you think.
Quantify Your Life Goals
Get reflective in your thirties – think about what you want to achieve and when. If you’ve still places you want to travel before you settle down, work out what this will cost you, and then assess the feasibility. Think about what kind of life you want to live, and what sort of income you’ll need to sustain that. Be realistic, of course!
Putting numbers against things you want to achieve, and setting timelines on each achievement can help you visualise whether you want to pursue it, and also prepare you for a settled family life. If you’re already settled, think of your collective goals as a family, and work together with your partner to establish a lifestyle that supports your financial aspirations.
Get Active About Investing
You’ve likely had (or still got) a few superfunds hanging about from previous jobs that you weren’t in very long. Your thirties is a time to consolidate any lost super, and take an active role in your retirement investments. Pay close attention to where your fund is being invested, and consider switching to a self-managed superfund.
SMSF owners have total control over where their money goes, so if you’re into shares, index funds, property or even collectibles, you can grow your retirement savings by investing in these asset classes yourself.
Squirrel Super is making self-managing your superfund more accessible than ever. Contact us today to find out how you can get started on your SMSF.