Self - September 9, 2019

6 Financial Goals to Set Before Turning 30

Talking about money is like #adulting to the max if you ask me and sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m old enough to even be thinking about and planning for my financial future. But as I get closer and closer to turning 30 (ahhh!), it’s kinda forced me to take a look at my life and gauge where I’m at. I want to make sure I’m setting myself up for success, so as I continue to check things off my list (financial goals being one of them), I thought I’d share some thoughts with y’all.

Before I talk about some of the goals that I have for myself and that I think are good to have by the time you’re 30, I also just want to say that finances are SO complicated and different for everyone. Definitely don’t think of this list as a one size fits all type of thing. It’s just some ideas to hopefully help you if you’ve been thinking about your own financial goals.

OK, let’s dive in!

Set a budget

I like to think of budgets kind of like I think of savings plans. Think of it like this: you have a plan to save your money, so why shouldn’t you have a plan for how you spend your money? See what I mean? For example, you can break down your monthly expenses and after you pay all your bills, based on what’s left you can send x amount to savings and x amount can be used for extra spending.

There are a million resources out there for budgeting though, and I’ve actually created a few posts of my own like this one about improving your personal idea of wealth and this one about preparing for holiday expenses. But I’ve found it really helpful to get advice from the professionals. Like, there are people out there whose whole job is to help you set up a realistic monthly and even yearly budget. I would do some research locally and even ask some of your friends and family about financial advisors in your area. You don’t have to have a million dollars to work with one either so definitely look one up, k?

Have a savings plan

If there’s one thing I definitely wanted to have in order by my late twenties, early thirties it’s my savings plan. Especially because with my job, I don’t have an option for a 401(k) or traditional savings plans offered by employers.

Now, I know I mentioned finding a financial advisor in my section on budgeting, which is a good idea if you ask me, but if you feel like you’ve got budgeting under control, maybe you need some help with saving. Maybe you’re trying to save for a house or buy stock for the first time. Whatever it is, there are just soooooo many options when it comes to investing, IRAs, money market accounts, etc. Blah! I don’t know about y’all but that is wayyy over my head so I’d rather recruit a professional to help me make informed decisions.

Organize your credit card situation

Credit cards can play a big part in your financial situation. Not only because of debt but because of their incentives! That’s right, credit cards don’t have to be these horrible things that ruin your finances. If you trust yourself to use credit cards properly aka paying off the balance every month, then they can actually be super beneficial! You can earn points for free hotels, flights and all kinds of travel perks. Or if you mainly shop at a certain store you can use a store credit card for all your purchases to earn points to go towards purchases at that particular store.

With all of that said, this is not me encouraging you to get a credit card. You have to do what’s best for your situation and if that means paying cash for everything, that’s what you should do! I just wanted to point out that as you approach 30 and if you use credit cards, it could be beneficial to narrow it down to one with really good rewards that fit your lifestyle and stick with that vs having several different accounts open.

Build an emergency fund

This one is really important to me because my income is so inconsistent and ebbs and flows. An emergency fund should be totally separate from anything else you’re saving for (like a house) and I think having at least six month’s worth of expenses is the best way to go. It probably seems like a lot but if you ever find yourself in a sticky situation you won’t have to freak out because you prepared for it.

Prioritize debt

Ugh, I know this is such a bummer topic, but debt is real and I honestly think it’s not really talked about enough. Trust me when I say I know that clothes and home décor and travel feel really important in the moment, but if you have debt (credit cards, student loans, etc.), you’ll feel a million times better if you’re prioritizing it.

I was reading an article about instant gratification recently and how it relates to debt and it was super interesting. Like it talked about how our generation wants instant gratification for everything so buying feels really good and paying off debt can take a lot of time and patience so we’re not the best at sticking to it. Totally makes sense, right? But long story short, if you have debt, don’t be too hard on yourself, just prioritize it and remind yourself of the long game.

Think about the big picture

And speaking of keeping the long game top of mind, something I really want to nail down as I turn 30 and in the coming years, is to always be thinking of the big picture. This way, when I find myself really wanting to buy something that’s totally unnecessary, I’ll have a little voice in my head that says, “Brighton, think about your financial future!” I feel like I kinda have this awareness now, but it’s definitely an ongoing goal of mine.

Is talking about this stuff helpful?! I know money can be kind of a weird topic, but it’s important! Let me know if you want to see more posts like this!