11 Financial Goals for Your 30s


View as:

happy couple with woman piggy backing on guy
Photo credit: Goodluz/shutterstock

Many people face important milestones in their 30s: getting married, buying a house, having children, and settling into a career. Financially, these milestones bring new challenges as mortgage payments, growing families, and demanding work schedules all take their toll. It's important for 30-somethings to examine their financial goals and make adjustments as needed. Cheapism has compiled 11 key moves people in their 30s should make.

cut up credit cards and sissors
Photo credit: Derek Hatfield/shutterstock

As your income rises, pay off credit cards and student loans (in that order). Resist the temptation to spend more as you earn more. It's not uncommon for credit card debt to creep higher as unavoidable expenses pile up, especially when a family comes along. A frugal lifestyle lets you pay off old debts, avoid building new credit card debt, and take advantage of investment opportunities.

money in 'Emergency Fund' jar
Photo credit: szefei/shutterstock

Establishing an emergency fund is a good idea at any age. If you don't have three to six months' worth of expenses put aside, it's time to get to it. Perhaps you had a fund but spent it, or you failed to put more money aside as your income and expenses increased. Once you have dependents, it's more important than ever to have a financial cushion.

happy couple using laptop during breakfast time at home
Photo credit: skynesher/istockphoto

Once marriage and children come along, it's time to review your insurance policies. The big four are homeowner's (or renter's), health, life, and disability. Make sure you are covered in all four areas, and at appropriate levels.

hands protection piggy bank
Photo credit: Sezeryadigar/istockphoto

In your 20s, you can take risks with your investments, but that begins to change in the following decades. Take the time to speak with an independent financial adviser to review your investments and create a retirement plan. You should still be taking risks, but make sure they're calculated and part of your plan.

happy smiling couple calculating their financial investments at home
Photo credit: Rido/shutterstock

If the talk of risk and asset allocation has you yawning, that's okay. It doesn't need to be interesting, but it's time to learn the basics of budgeting and investing. Read a few books and look into online and in-person classes. There are also many free personal finance apps and tools.

couple doing finances on floor
Photo credit: Andrey_Popov/shutterstock

If you have a spouse or long-term partner, it's time to have "the talk." That is, it's time to discuss your shared goals and how your finances can support them. Establishing a shared budget and setting regular financial check-in meetings are good starting places.

happy couple moving in new home
Photo credit: valentinrussanov/istockphoto

If you're planning on staying put for at least five to seven years, then buying a house or apartment can make financial sense. However, saving a 10 to 20 percent down payment is hard, so it's best to start putting some money aside now.

credit report score on desk
Photo credit: danielfela/shutterstock

Having excellent credit can save you tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on a home loan. If you have questions, non-profit credit counseling services can help you free of charge with one-on-one counseling as well as online and offline courses. Find your local affiliate by visiting the National Foundation of Credit Counseling's website.

eggs with letters of 'future' written on it
Photo credit: PeopleImages/istockphoto

You're still decades away from retirement, but if you haven't been contributing to a retirement account, it's definitely time to start. If you've been funding an account, keep it up and consider increasing your contribution amount. Compound interest has years to work in your favor, and if you can manage to put aside 15 to 20 percent of your income, you'll be in a good place come retirement time.

new hire employee benefits documents
Photo credit: zimmytws/istockphoto

If you're having trouble setting aside as much money for retirement as you'd like, consider moving to a different company in your industry. Even if your salary doesn't increase, a benefits package that includes a generous company match for retirement contributions and health coverage can make a big difference in your finances.

piggy bank and roll of money with graduation hat
Photo credit: Andrey Burmakin/shutterstock

Saving for retirement comes first, but if you have a family it's time to consider your children's college education. Even with financial aid it's hard to afford tuition, books, room and board, and other college-related expenses. Look into tax-advantaged 529 plans and make the most out of your savings. There are many different plans to choose from. You may need to do some homework before determining the best one for your family.

Cheapism.com participates in affiliate marketing programs, which means we may earn a commission if you choose to purchase a product through a link on our site. This helps support our work and does not influence editorial content.