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Earlier this year I turned 35, and this is probably the first time in my life I feel like I have a handle on my finances. Obviously, this is different for everyone. For example, my husband knew a ton about finances and financial responsibility in his very early 20’s. I only hope our kids take after him. I want to share a bit about finances in your 30’s and how you can prepare for them as early as possible. You don’t have to wait! Also if you are a parent these are great things to teach your kids.
Finances In Your 30’s (How To Be Prepared As Early As Possible)
- Start saving YOUNG: I started babysitting when I was 12. I worked summers at a camp from 12-20 and have worked full time since I was 21. Yet, I never really saved anything significant. I could have and didn’t. As an adult, this frustrates me. I was so irresponsible with money and had the attitude of “I have it, so I’m going to spend it.” Spoiler alert: THIS IS NOT THE RIGHT ATTITUDE. Ideally, you should start saving right away. I love this blog post from Lexington Law about teaching your kids to be financially literate. So many great tips on things you can be teaching your kids super young. I love the idea of a payday over an allowance. Another way to help your kids is to start a 529 account. That’s what we did for Liam and will do for our new baby girl! We put a certain amount in it monthly and it can only be accessed for college tuition/costs. We also put any money he’s given for his birthday in there.
- Ask for help at ANY AGE: I know asking for help is hard. No one likes to do it. But sometimes you just get yourself in a situation where you don’t know what else to do. For me, this was early in my 20’s when I realized my credit was garbage. If that sounds like you, call Lexington Law! If you have inaccurate late fees, hard inquiries or otherwise unfair negative marks on your credit, try Lexington Law. I recommend setting up a consultation with them and just hearing what they can do to help you. It’s OK to ask for help!
- Take an interest in what your parents are doing: This can meaning learning what to do, or what not to do. If your parents are financially responsible, ask them for tips. Conversely, if your parents are not so accountable financially, vow to do better.
- Ask questions: To your parents, professors, peers, etc. Ask about where to invest your money, how to balance finances, how to save properly, etc. Ask all the questions! Or if, like me, you have no idea how the stock market works, check this article out that explains the stock market like pizza.
- Take financial courses: This can be done at ANY TIME! There are lots of courses you can take from accounting, finance, economics, etc. to understand your finances better. Even at community colleges, there are great courses or online financial courses.
- Set up an IRA: This is something I wish I had done younger but set up an IRA. Something you won’t touch until you retire. You can have a savings account you can pull from, but an IRA is specifically for retirement. No matter what you put in a month put something there. Lexington Law has a great post about alternatives to a 401K if you are like me and work for yourself and want to save for retirement.
- Know your financial goals: This will be different for everyone, but maybe you have goals to travel, or pay for your kids’ college, or buy a house or pay off debt. Whatever they are, know your financial goals. Maybe even sit down with a financial advisor to figure out your goals. Then figure out how to achieve them long-term.
- Repair your credit: This is the biggest thing I want you to take away from this. You need your credit to be accurate and fair. If questionable negatives are keeping your score down, repair your credit as soon as you see a mistake. Lexington Law is where you want to go for this. Their credit repair services will give you a free consultation, and go over exactly what you need to do.
I think people assume by your 30’s you should know all of the things about finances, but realistically a lot of us are still learning, and that’s OK! I hope you found some good tips about finances in your 30’s and how to be prepared as early as possible. If you have kids like me, these are also great things to start implementing with them!
What is your biggest financial take away from this?