Published by Taylor Financial Group (for women)
I wish I could tell you I have the perfect list of every milestone you should hit in life accompanied by a list of deadlines to ensure you hit every goal. Unfortunately, I don’t (but if you know someone who does, let me know!). The reality is that everyone is at a different place in their lives at any given time. For example, at the age of 30, I had just passed the CPA exam, but my children weren’t even a thought in my mind (sorry kids!). Comparably, I had friends that were already homeowners and parents. While I don’t believe there are (or should be) set times on when you should be hitting milestones, I have established five financial accomplishments you should achieve before the age of 30. And, even if you’re older than 30, that’s okay too. It’s never too late to improve your financial life.
- Have a budget to track your expenses. Budgeting your money doesn’t have to be complicated, but it’s necessary to put an emphasis on saving. How much are you spending on rent and utilities? How much are you spending for travel and fun? Calculate all money in and all money out so that you can be sure that you’re not spending more than you can afford. Click here for a sample organizer.
- Save for retirement early and often. By the time you reach the age of 30, chances are that you won’t have much of a retirement savings cushion. But it is important to start saving for retirement as soon as possible. It’s good practice to contribute a portion of your salary into an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan, or into another retirement account (like an IRA) if your employer doesn’t offer a 401(k) plan. For example, if you put $5,500 into an IRA for 30 years and receive a 6% rate of return, you’ll have a total of $403,230! This will definitely put you in a better position down the road.
- Create an Emergency Fund. Always be prepared for bumps in the road, no matter your age. No one has a crystal ball to see the future. So, whether you total your car, lose your job, or need unexpected surgery, it’s important to have an Emergency Fund in a liquid savings account. Ideally, you should have enough to cover your typical monthly expenses for three to six months (or more). Having this cash immediately available to you will prove to be beneficial in unanticipated circumstances.
- Have zero credit card debt. Paying down high interest credit cards should be a priority! If possible, pay your balance off at the end of every month. You should also try to keep your balance below 30% of your credit line to avoid damage to your credit score.
- Designate beneficiaries on your savings accounts and life insurance policies. Designate those closest to you as beneficiaries on any savings and retirement accounts, as well as insurance policies that you may have. While the hope is that you’ve got a long life to live, it’s always good to be prepared for the possibility of not being around or able to make decisions about where your money will go. To this end, it’s also important to have an estate plan (but that’s a topic for another day).
You don’t have to have all the answers by any certain age, but establishing a solid financial foundation is key to long-term success. As always, if you’re feeling overwhelmed with your finances, contact us today to find out how we can help you take control of your future!
Money Magazine, 5 Milestones You Should Hit Before Turning 30, December 2017