Sound and Practical Finance tips (SPF 15) for people in their 30’s

As we mentioned in last week’s post, good financial habits are like sunscreen – the earlier you begin to apply them the more you’ll thank yourself as you age.

Last week, we addressed the specific needs of people in their 20s. This week, we are offering 15 SPF (Sound and Practical Finance) Tips to make life easier for people in their 30s:

  1. Finish paying off your student loans. If you took out a standard loan with a 10-year repayment schedule, and you completed college in your 20s, now is the time to wrap up that payment schedule. Then, to lighten that financial burden for the next generation…
  2. Open a college savings account for any children you have. Do this as soon as possible to allow those funds to earn compound interest.
  3. Consider buying a home but make sure it’s one you can comfortably afford. Shop around for the best mortgage rate and don’t panic purchase an overpriced house.
  4. Aim to have a year’s worth of salary saved for retirement. It will grow over time.
  5. Establish a good credit history by paying off your credit cards each month and making car, house and educational loan payments on time.
  6. If you have children, name a legal guardian for them. You will need a will to do this.
  7. Check the beneficiary designations on your life insurance policy. Do this annually to make sure they are current.
  8. Maintain an emergency fund with three to six months of income in it.
  9. Increase your job skills, obtain certifications and/or advanced degrees. Do the work now to increase your earning capacity later.
  10. Educate yourself about your finances. Read books, listen to podcasts, attend seminars and sit down with a financial advisor at least once a year.
  11. Achieve financial independence from your parents if you have not already done so.
  12. Pay for good insurance policies, including health, homeowners or renters, life and car.
  13. Plan your meals ahead of time to cut down on both wasteful spending and consumption of convenience food, which is generally pretty unhealthy.
  14. Track your spending. You will be amazed at how quickly your money disappears when you aren’t looking at it.

Keep up with your car maintenance to avoid unnecessary, expensive repairs down the road.