In your twenties, your future is too far away to think about and what is important is the “here and now.” Your financial habits are not great, as you will have probably maxed out your credit card, delayed any savings, and focused mainly on pleasure spending. Your twenties are the time to have fun, and it’s ok to make financial mistakes. However, the bad financial habits that you have accumulated in your twenties need to be gone before you head into your thirties. Being in your thirties is different, you become more responsible and yes, a little more serious about life.
Freedom and wealth is an outcome of ‘Time’; the most precious asset that we all possess. Time, however, is a variable to each individual, as our actions from our choices determine the longevity and returns from this asset. To maximize the return on this asset is determined by the energy that we put forth in developing our financial education, relationships, and health. – Scott Burton
Living in a cold damp house where it was party central every weekend doesn’t seem so appealing. The comforts of a warm centrally located apartment with your partner or a flatmate is the place you really want to be. You start to drink wine and your parties go from hundreds to dinner parties of six. No police get called to your dinner parties!
You will find that children, family, marriage, and buying houses are the main topics of discussion amongst your friends.
Shopping. Bills. More bills. Your health. Appointments. Money. Credit cards. Rent. Mortgages. Tax returns. Work. Some of these things were present in your twenties, and if you really wanted to ignore them you could, but now you can’t.
If you make the right financial choices in your twenties, many of the thirty-something life events become not so stressful and far more pleasurable. The reason why is because you have a good financial base!
However, if you don’t make the right financial choices in your twenties, your life will be one of financial struggle – not only in your thirties but forever.
Money is only a tool. It will take you where you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver. – Ayn Rand
By pursuing these goals, you will have set the foundation to enjoy financial security and independence for the rest of your life.
1. Know Your Personal Financial Profile
When it comes to money and so many other things in life, understanding your weaknesses and strengths can help you with your future plans. – Tagene Brown-McBean
I know that this doesn’t look like a financial goal, however, it is the key to your success in achieving your financial goals. You need to know what your values and beliefs are around money.
What is your risk profile? Does spending money give you pleasure? Do you have good saving habits? When you see something you really want, do you justify to yourself how much you deserve it even though you can’t afford it? Do you like credit cards? Are you ever able to pay your credit cards off in full every month?
Do you bury your head in the sand when it comes to dealing with money?
There are lots of financial personality profile assessments on the internet, and many of them are free. Here is a link to a great article on personalities and money: How Your Personality Affects Your Finances.
Go and find out what your relationship is with money. Then decide if you have the commitment, desire, and motivation to pursue these financial goals before you turn thirty.
2. Write Down Your Financial Goals
By failing to prepare, you are planning to fail. – Benjamin Franklin
Once you have an understanding of your financial personality, you can then start to plan your financial future.
Write down your financial goals – short, medium, and long term goals.
The timeframes you set for these goals need to be aligned to your financial personality.
Use the KISS and SMART metrics to write your goals. (Keep It Simple Smart) and (Specific, Measurable, Action, Realistic, and Time-Bound).
This financial goal needs you to be disciplined and focused. If you struggle with these personality traits – that’s ok. Find someone who can help you or go on the internet and look for templates that you can use to guide you to writing your goals.
Find out how to write your financial goals that are aligned to you and your current priorities in life.
If you don’t take the time to put a financial plan in place by the time you reach your thirties, you increase your chances of failing to achieve those financial outcomes that will enable you to live your dream life.
3. Stop Impulse Spending
Remember, buying something is not the problem. Give up your bad habits around spending. The sooner you give up the habit of impulse spending, the better off you will be financially.
Try to understand why this behaviour is important to you, as it does not serve you well. This behaviour does not support wealth creation. If you continue to spend impulsively, your financial future going into your thirties and beyond will be a struggle.
Don’t stop enjoying your life and spending money altogether. You should be spending money on things that make you feel good. Just be realistic about your spending habits. If your spending is reckless and impulsive, then do something about it.
4. Get an App to Track Your Expenses
There are plenty of ways to get ahead. The first is so basic I’m almost embarrassed to say it: spend less than you earn. – Paul Clitheroe
If you are in your twenties and you have a negative perception or no motivation to budget or track your expenses, you need to change right now.
Holding on to these beliefs will hold you back from having any financial security in your thirties and later in life. Keeping track of your expenses is one of the key financial habits that will enable you to have financial wealth and independence in your life.
There are some amazing budgeting apps that you can download. Go search for these apps; they enable you to budget and monitor your expenses with ease and no stress.
When you reach thirty, it is essential that you are able to live within your means, otherwise, you will find yourself drowning in debt.
Remember, your thirties will bring more expense and cost to your life. Good budgeting habits will ensure you are prepared to manage these extra costs and live within your means.
5. Learn About Investing
Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune. – Jim Rohn
To create long term wealth, you need to become educated about investment.
The best time to start getting the basics sorted around investment and start building your wealth is now – as you head into your thirties.
With sound investment planning in your twenties, you should have an investment portfolio up and running by the time you are thirty.
Investing in your future now, before you turn thirty, ensures that you will reap the financial rewards of security and independence for the rest of your life.
6. Learn How to Manage Your Debt
Debt is like any other trap, easy enough to get into, but hard enough to get out of. – Henry Wheeler Shaw
Don’t borrow money to buy depreciating assets is a key rule for managing debt.
Debt can work in your favour but only when you use it for things that tend to rise in value over a reasonable period of time.
Using borrowed money to invest in a house, a business, or an investment (which includes your education) is the sensible use of debt. However, you still have to pay the debt off, and if you don’t have a plan to manage your debt, then interest will compound, and your debt will triple.
Borrowing to buy a new phone, pair of shoes, TV, or car is not a smart use of debt.
Get rid of your bad debt – credit cards, higher purchase, or car payments. Avoid credit card debt like the plague.
There is a very simple rule to follow when you spend, if you have to borrow money for it, then you simply can’t afford it – that includes using credit cards.
7. Get Insurance and Start Saving for Emergencies
The habit of savings is itself an education; it fosters every virtue, teaches self denial, cultivates the sense of order, trains to forethought, and so broadens the mind. – T.T Mauger
In your twenties, the concept of a “personal emergency” is never thought about because it just doesn’t happen in your twenties. If an emergency occurs, usually your parents will sort it out.
However, that all changes in your thirties and things like life insurance, income protection insurance, and mortgage payments start to appear in your lives.
You need to protect your future. Setting up a fund and getting insurance for you to call on in an emergency is a great financial goal to have underway as you enter into your thirties.
8. Stop Relying on Your Parents for Money
You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves. – Abraham Lincoln
If you are still relying on your parents to financially support you when you are thirty, you should be worried.
I get that you may have a student loan, and in your twenties, your parents were your ATM machine, however, this is a bad habit to maintain as you go into your thirties.
It is pretty much guaranteed that if you have bad debt and still rely on a monthly allowance from your parents then your chances of having financial independence and creating wealth in your life will not happen.
That is your reality.
9. Start a Retirement Account
There is no way you would have missed all the hype that has been promoted about how important it is to start saving for your retirement in your twenties.
The book Get A Financial Life by Beth Kobliner focuses on helping people in their twenties and thirties get their personal finances sorted. In her book, Beth Kobliner outlines an example to show how the power of time on your investments works.
Suppose you set aside $1,000 a year from age 25 to age 64 in a retirement account that earns 5% a year (historically, stocks return about 8%, but we’ll be conservative). That’s $39,000 total you invest. By the time you turn 65, you’ll have $126,840. If you don’t get started with saving until you’re 35, you’ll only have $69,760. Starting just ten years earlier would have doubled your total. Yes, doubled.
When you are investing in your future with the goal of achieving financial freedom, then time is your biggest ally. Start saving and investing now before you reach thirty.
10. Develop a Financial Abundant Mindset
When we do what we love to do; when we are generous and seek to help others; when we live within our means and save money; when we always seek a more specialized knowledge…we then have an abundant mindset, and are bound to realize financial abundance. – Ken Ndengu
How you handle your relationship with money in your twenties will influence how you live the rest of your life.
Starting to develop a mindset that supports financial abundance will help you to prosper in the future, both financially and personally.
A person who has a financially abundant mindset is one who has developed knowledge and skills to acquire financial wealth but also balances that with philanthropy and generous giving.
Pursuing these ten financial goals before you reach thirty will guarantee your financial security and independence for the rest of your life.
You have the power and the choice as you head into your thirties to create the life you desire.
I hope you choose well.