6 Money Mistakes You Are Making in Your 30s

As you move into your 30s, it’s likely that your priorities change.  Maybe you buy a house, get married,   and have kids (or all of those!)  They way you think about money and where your money is going is likely going to change too.  If you want to set yourself up for financial success in your 30s and beyond, it is important to avoid these money mistakes that many people make.

You Don’t Save

This is a big mistake for people of all ages, but particularly as you get older and have more financial responsibilities.  Saving money, and having an emergency fund, is necessary for any unexpected expenses, particularly if you own a home, a car, or have children.  Establish an emergency account for those unexpected expenses and move the rest of your savings in an interest-bearing account, described below. 

Keeping All Your Money in Savings

Most banks have very low interest rates on savings accounts.  If you want to keep your money in savings, open an online savings account, which generally has a higher interest rate.  Some options include Ally, Capital One 360, and Barclays.  These banks often offer interest rates of 1% or more, much higher than the usual .1% offered by banks.  You can easily set up automatic transfers and your work is done. 

You’re Not Saving for Retirement

Although retirement may seem a long way off, it is imperative to start saving in your 30s if you have not already.  If you haven’t already, start thinking about much you need to, and can, save for retirement, and start setting that money aside.  If your employer offers a matching contribution, take advantage of it!  Ideally, you should be saving 10% of your income for retirement.

You Have Credit Card Debt

Credit cards have their benefits.  They can help you establish credit, allow you make online purchases, reserve hotel rooms or rental cars, or earn points you can redeem for travel or other perks.  However, credit card companies benefit when you make money mistakes, such as not paying off your balance at the end of every month, making late payments, and making impulse and large purchases that you can’t immediately pay off.  Paying late will rack up late fees, some as much as $30.  Only paying the minimum means it will take you years to pay off the debt, and you end up paying much more for the item when you factor in interest costs.

You Live Beyond Your Means

Living beyond your means, whether it be buying a house or car you can’t really afford, taking vacations you pay for with credit cards, or making impulse purchases often will have significant financial repercussions.  If you are overspending on these things, it is impacting your ability to save for your future, create an emergency fund, get out (or stay out) of credit card debt, and avoid using credit cards to finance your day-to-day life.  Set a realistic budget and stick to it!


You Don’t Have any Goals

Having financial goals is important in your 30s.  Don’t make the mistake of not having a goal, such as getting out of debt, saving for a large purchase or vacation, or saving a certain amount of money by age 40.  In 30 years, it probably won’t matter what kind of car or house you had in your 30s, but it will matter if you have failed to save for your retirement.  So, make those goals now and stick to them and avoid these money mistakes while you are still young!

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