It’s never too early to start caring about money. Some of us are simply born that way, it is implanted deep in our psyche to respect and fear money, so you go to school, to college, and have an all-jolly-boring time but it all pays off in the end. Others, well, we had a few mistakes we don’t regret but when the reality finally catch up on us we will envy those that were more diligent and more responsible than us. Either way you had it, we all find out sooner or later that this is a money making world and it doesn’t forgive sloppiness, so if you are in your 30s, there are some financial decisions that you should make today.
Set Your Goals
Hopefully by the time you are reading this, your dreams of becoming a rock star are long gone. It is time for some serious goals, life evaluation, and finally it is time to make that boring question: where do you see yourself in the future? Set your goal for the year 2045, and then break it down to shorter time periods and 5 year goals, and once more, if you have to, to a series of per 1 year goals. When you realize what tempo suits you, and how much money you actually need, have those numbers memorized and check them monthly. Live by them and respect them so you could respect yourself.
I’m guessing that at this point you already have a partner, or you would spend your time online differently. Maybe you just love to be alone and hey, whatever floats your boat, just skip this part. If you do have a partner, discuss everything with him/her. Every investment, no matter how small it is, has to be approved by both. Not to mention if you have kids how imperative family financing is. Deal with it.
This doesn’t concern your health, although it is a good time to start thinking about that too. You need to honor some responsibilities on a daily level. Carpool, organized shopping, coupons, everything that seemed lame just a few years ago is now your responsibility and you have to stay diligent. Here is why:
Boring, isn’t it? Well, think about it as a sort of a productive little game, the Future You will thank you. Sooner you start saving money, and you can set a percentage of your salary by the amount that you can manage on a monthly basis, the larger sum the Future You will have. You never know for sure what sort of a trouble is waiting for you, and you will realize in that dreaded moment how you can be your best friend and the most valuable ally.
Yes, you do need life insurance. As you get older the fear of “what could happen” will go stronger, and if you let yourself go and just don’t think about it when the time comes and you start thinking about it will be too late. The sooner you start the better.
Consider conducting a biweekly method of payment. With two monthly rates you will be able to move some money around, and in the long run you will also save money. In fact, try using this biweekly mortgage calculator and see how much that choice could help your 20 year goal. Paying your mortgage early is a dream of every homeowner, so be smart.
If you have your own business – great for you, work till you drop and have all of my respect. If you are stuck in a job you hate, or you still have a dream to become a traveling artist, live on the beach or any type of dream a normal person would have, find out how you can speed up your retirement process, and realize how you are already doing it if you followed the previous steps.
Last but not least, you will soon start wanting those vacations. And you should, because you need your health and your wits, so move some funds around and treat yourself with a 7 day trip to Hawaii next year. Have those guilty little pleasures that will keep you motivated.