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Your 30s are often filled with major financial and personal milestones such as getting married, having kids and buying your first home. This is also a time when you may get aggressive about paying down student loans and other debts. And although retirement seems far away, the choices you make during this decade can affect you when that time rolls around.
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With all of that in mind, here are 30 things every 30-something should know about their money.
1. Get a Clear Picture of Your Finances
“Do a ‘financial 360’ in your 30s, meaning, take a look at your financial picture, your net worth and your retirement accounts, and see where you are so you can plan for your next 10 years and beyond,” said Ramona Ortega, founder and CEO at My Money My Future.
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2. Set Up Retirement Accounts If You Don’t Already Have One
“If you don’t have a financial plan, get one, and make sure you at least have a retirement account and a Roth IRA,” Ortega said.
3. Think Carefully About Every Dollar You Spend
“Before spending, realize that every $1 you spend today could be worth $10 in retirement,” said Barbara Friedberg, investing expert and owner of Robo-Advisor Pros. “Consider whether that $200 gadget is worth sacrificing an extra $2,000 in retirement.”
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4. Don’t Throw Free Retirement Savings Away
“Contribute enough to your workplace retirement 401(k) or 403(b) to get the employer match,” Friedberg said. “Even better, contribute the maximum amount allowed by law if you can swing it, and your retirement will be covered.”
5. Buy Life and Disability Insurance
“If you have kids, get inexpensive term life insurance and disability insurance (if not covered at work),” Friedberg said. “This way, your family is covered for the unexpected.”
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6. Eliminate Credit Card Debt
“No credit card debt — no exceptions,” Friedberg said. “If you have it, pay it off. If you can’t afford to pay in full, you don’t need it. Debt is the best way to slow up or halt your wealth accumulation.”