By the time you hit the age of 30, you're well on your way in terms of your career and life. For most people, this is the time when you're settled into a career, thinking about starting a family and hitting major life milestones. However, whether you're planning to settle down or start a new adventure, proper management of your finances in your 30s can pay dividends for decades to come.
Look at turning 30 as the catalyst for positive changes that can help you build wealth and stability for the rest of your life.
Even if you have been continually paying off debt from student loans, credit card debts or other expenditures, make a commitment to stick with your repayment plan throughout your 30s. With major expenses like mortgages or car payments on the horizon, settling this debt as quickly as you are able to will allow you to build a nest egg for the future
2. Contribute to a Flexible Spending Account
Typically, larger employers will offer a slew of potential benefits to help you save on things like medical products and services, child care and much more. For instance, if you're starting a family and will need day or after-school care, a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA) will allow you to pay for these services with pre-tax money, which could help you save thousands over time. Additionally, Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) or Health Savings Accounts (HSA) are great options to cover medical expenditures with pre-tax income. You'll be able to use an FSA for dental and eye care, but also for visits to specialists not covered by health insurance. And, your FSA lets you shop for thousands of everyday healthcare products including first-aid kits, contact lenses and prescription eyeglasses, baby care items and more.
In your 30s, time is on your side! The more money you can save now will help you out in the long run, so contributing to a 401(k) is vital, especially if your company will match your contributions. You can update how much goes into this account when you receive raises or promotions, or incrementally raise it over time each year. It's the simplest way to plan for the next stage of your life. Another great way to save over time is to sign up for a Health Savings Account. HSA funds do not expire. They roll over form year to year and can be used at any time. Even if you no longer have a qualifying health plan (if you're retired), you'll be able to use your HSA even if you are not eligible to contribute at that time. Your HSA distributions remain tax free provided that they are used for qualified medical expenses.
4. Don't cash out!
If you decide to pursue a new opportunity with a different company and you already have a 401(k) up and running, don't give into the temptation to drain that account for some extra cash. Rolling that money into an IRA or a new employer's plan will allow you to continue to accrue retirement funds. Cashing out prematurely could also make you lose out on thousands after taxes and penalties. Resist the urge -- those years of early retirement will be well worth it!
5. Set savings goals
It's one thing to look into FSAs or HSAs and retirement accounts to cut your spending, but fostering a commitment to saving money will take true diligence on your part. Throughout the year, try setting a series of savings goals. Having something to shoot for will help you stay mindful of your day-to-day spending goals, and you can utilize a wealth of budgeting apps like Mint or Mvelopes to make sure you get there.