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Guide to Mastering Finances In Your 30s

Having a guide for mastering your finances for turning 30 and being in your 30s is a must! Here's 6 ultimate goals to guide you to the best strategy for taking charge of your finances as a woman in her 30s. 

1. Set Goals 

If you aren't strategic about what you want to do with your money, you'll end up wasting cash on things that don't work towards your personal finance goals. How would you like your finances to look like in 5 years? What are you working towards? A new house? Paying down debt, saving for retirement, starting a business? Whatever it may be set your budget accordingly. 

 

2. Allocating Spending 

Northwestern Mutual created a great guide for finances in your 30s and has some great recommendations on how to allocate your spending. Basically they break up how to spend in your 30s into 3 core categories, a 60, 20, 20 rule if you will. 

 

60% = Necessary Expenses 

According to the guide, the largest chunk of your check should be dedicated to your 'must have' money allocations. Rent, health insurance, car payment, electric, etc. 

 

20% = Saving & Investing 

Set aside 20% of your take home to saving and investing, such as saving for a house, 401k, 6-month emergency fund, saving for you a special occasion like your wedding day or a much needed vacation.  

 

20% = Elective Expenses 

Lastly, your remaining income should be spent on things that bring you joy because what's the point of working if we cannot spend on things we truly enjoy like concert tickets, dinner out with friends, a new wardrobe and that must-have fancy bottle of red wine? 

 

 

3. Adapt A No Debt Philosophy 

The Northeastern Mutual guide mentions that 70% of four-year bachelor’s program grads rack up on average $35,000 in student loan debt. 

 

If you are stuck with student loan and (or) credit card debt, use your 30s to knock these down. When tackling credit card and student loan debt, target your highest interest rate loan or credit cards first. If you have multiple things to pay off,  another method I prefer is the avalanche approach, where you pay off the smallest balances (highest interest first) and scale up in order to create short and easier goals for increased motivation and gratification. 

Once you are out of debt, the feeling of freedom will make you think twice before swiping your credit card. If you need some motivation on paying down debt, checkout my Top Podcasts for Your 30’s, most notably, So Money who’s podcast  inspired me to tackle debt. 

 

4. Have a 6 Month Emergency Fund

Northwestern Mutual's guide mentions that "50% of Americans would have to borrow money, sell something or use their credit cards to cover a $400 unexpected expense." Many money experts recommend having at least 3-6 month's worth of saving in the event of an emergency such supporting you through a work sabbatical, an unexpected car failure or fix for the house.  

 

5. Save For Retirement - Even Just 1%

By age 35, Mutual recommends having saved 1xs your salary. That may be a tall order for some, but the best thing you can do is begin contributing if you haven't started already. If your employer matches your contribution, contribute the max - don't lose out on free money girl! NWM reminds that even 1% adds up. Making $75k a year with 30 years till retirement at a 5% contribution yields  $439,700 by retirement. 

 

Not sure what your retirement landscape looks like? Nerd Wallet has a personalized 401k calculator tailored to your age and contribution strategy. 

 

401k VS. Roth IRA? If you are unsure of the difference between a Roth or

401k, here's a quick definition:

 

401(k) (Pretax) - Not taxed today, Taxed during retirement 

Roth IRA (After Tax)  - Taxed today and NOT taxed during retirement 

 

6. Invest  

One of my favorite personal finance books is Rich Dad, Poor Dad and the best lesson I learned is his belief that money should work for you. According to SoFi The largest 5 U.S. banks paid on average 0.08% in interest on savings, yet earned an average of 3.11% net interest margin by lending out that money. 

 

Meaning for every $1,000 you deposited, you got $0.80 and the bank got $31.15. That’s 38x more than you made! Once you have your emergency fund secured, use these stats as a motivator to make your money work for you. But where do you start? 

 

How much do I need to get started investing?

Get started for as little as $25 per month through mutual funds or have your money accumulate over time and buy more investments at one time. 

 

Where to Invest?

Some popular options for investments are in stocks, bonds, mutual fund and even real estate. However, checking out high return savings or checking accounts or even maximum rewards credit cards are all ways to invest your money for a return. Investing can be tricky and risky if you don't know what you are doing.  Ellevest is a great tool that caught my eye because they target woman looking to invest. 

 

Financial literacy is a must in your 30s. Make monthly, quarterly and annually check ins with yourself to ensure your finances are on the right track and working towards your goals. For more inspo, check out my Top Quotes which I've dedicated a section to specifically to finances. 

 

What are your financial philosophies for 30?  

 

 

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