I can’t believe I am saying this, but today I am 32. Just last week I was reminded that my birthday was coming up and I totally forgot how I old I even was.
Mentally I am stuck at 30, but physically I feel like I am 22, which is a good thing. Admittedly so, nothing too eventful happened in my life from 31 to 32. In fact, this short list pretty much sums of 31 for me:
- No kids
- No new cars
- A remodeled kitchen
- A gym membership at my 2010 rate
- No more room sharing
- We went to the lake for a free trip (first since 2016)
- Sold our 5 acre rental property, which allowed us to…
- Pay down $87,00 worth of debt
If you read my blog post last year that I wrote on my 31st birthday, I wrote about how my wife and I planned on paying $100,000 worth of debt in one year.
Well we almost did it – we paid off $87,000 from birthday to birthday. Which by in large is pretty awesome (When I wrote the post on my 31st, I had intentions of selling our rental property which was going to help increase the amount we could throw at our debt).
But today I don’t aim to talk about massive debt payoff (If that is something you want to read about in detail, just check out how we paid off $70,000 here).
Today I want to talk about goals moving forward and things to know about life by age 30 accompanied by some things that we should all look to accomplish in our 30s!
10 Things to Know About Life
By no means is what I am about to tell you something I came up with 100% on my own, nor is it a conclusive list. There are probably a million different things you can do in your 30’s to really enjoy them and set yourself up for your 40’s and 50’s.
As a general rule of thumb – just do what makes YOU HAPPY.
Hopefully. you didn’t play too hard in your 20’s like I did (So now you are playing catch up in your 30’s), but even if you did, you will be OK.
But if you are an older millennial (You know this by whether or not you had a cell phone in high school with T9 texting and snake) here are some things you should consider focusing on.
1. Be more intentional with your time.
If you are 30 and live to be 80 (Average Expectancy) you have 18,250 days, give or take a few, or 438,000 hours.
Factoring 8 hours of sleeping daily, you have roughly 292,000 walking hours or 12,165 days or 33 walking years.
But no matter how you look at that, it is time to be intentional with your time. It is time to put the big rocks first and stop worrying about all the sand that is consuming your time.
Is commuting 1 hour a day, the American average, worth it? Or would that hour be better spent doing something you enjoy?
How about working in general. Is the 4% raise worth it if you have to spend 10 more hours per week working?
It is time (no pun intended) to be intentional with your time. Time is not money, money is time, and time is choice.
2. Start a Family.
This might be more of a personal 30 something goal, but it is time for us to start a family. For many 30 somethings, they might already have a family or are at least close to it. While millennials are waiting longer to have kids, we, in particular, have held off on kids for financial reasons.
For every person who says you can never be ready to have kids (they are in some aspects right), there is something to be said when it comes to being in a better financial spot. Parents of millennials typically didn’t have to deal with stagnant wages, inflation, and student loans.
So while it is easy to say things like you can never plan for kids, I personally disagree. No student loans for us means more options FOR OUR KIDS. And we are almost there… so rant over, but we are close and happy to start a family!
3. Prepare financially for 40 than 50 and 60.
These next 10 years, 30-40, are pivotal financially for setting yourself up nice in your 40’s and on. The conventional personal finance advice is outdated. Putting your future finances in jeopardy by slowly inching your way to 65 is risky… and there are no re do’s.
Assess what you are saving and what you are spending. Being intentional with your time and being intentional with your money in your 30’s is vital.
This may require some honesty on your end, so start by asking yourself these questions:
- Are you living above your means?
- Is your lifestyle sustainable long term? Can you do this if an emergency happened?
- Are you still living paycheck to paycheck?
- Have you started planning for the future?
- Do you have the desired number to hit written down?
- Can you earn more now? And most importantly….
- How much do you have saved at your age? At 30 you should have your salary saved, by 35 it should be doubled. Which leads to #4 below.
4. Increase Savings Exponentially.
If you haven’t done so already, it is time to increase your savings rate exponentially. Just to define savings rate, it means money that is growing for you.
Whether it is money going to savings accounts, investment accounts, or even real estate- if you are in your 30’s make sure you are approaching the 15-25% range when it comes to savings.
Here is what I mean. Let’s say you make $60,000 take home (net). Your goal should be to save at least $9,000 to $15,000 per year or $750 to $1,250 per month.
Now I get it… that might seem like a lot of money if you are currently barely saving. You can do several things.
In my 5 money rules to follow article, I elaborate on how to slowly work to that magical 15-25% range. Just set a small goal to increase your savings rate 1% from wherever it is now, then progress from there (Like climbing 50 flights of stairs, one step at a time). Additionally, see about making money with your hobbies or starting to invest:
Side note: I just started using Acorns for investing. In a nut shell (no pun intended) I linked my bank account so every month $50 goes to my Acorns account. Additionally, each purchase I make get's rounded up and added as well. So if I spend 23.50 on gas, .50 gets added to my account!
5. Choose Your Friends Wisely.
There were two kids my mom always told me not to hang out with. They actually turned out pretty well, but for the most part looking back I can see why. Anytime I got in trouble I was usually hanging out with them.
That being said sometimes as adults we don’t analyze our friendships. We associate length of time knowing someone as some sort of loyalty, however, just my opinion but your values must align.
For millennials now entering their 30’s, if the highlights of your life still consist of doing the same thing every weekend (Drinking socially with friends) it might be time to expand your social circle.
To get financially secure, have a great marriage and to have a family (#2) you have to be intentional with your time and who you hang out with.
Follow the “Rule of 3.”
Figure out which people you should/can spend 3 minutes, 3 hours, 3 days, 3+ years with. Then keep that in mind. If someone is constantly complaining around you… they might be a 3-minute person. On the other hand, if you get around someone who is always uplifting, then they are a 3+ year person.
6. Emphasize Fitness.
The definition of fitness; the condition of being physically fit and healthy.
Sometimes 30 is the number you hear people talk about when their health goes down the toilet. When I was 26 I always heard, “Wait until you’re 30, it will all change.”
Like archaic personal finance wisdom, that is another common myth that just isn’t true. With fitness access and a cultural emphasis on having a healthier lifestyle, you really have no reason not be healthy in your 30’s.
And just like saving more money, the longer you wait the harder it will get. Establishing healthy and sustainable health habits in your 30’s is clutch.
Here is something that has helped me.
- Get used to eating the same stuff for a few days in a row, consider meal prepping.
- Always eat breakfast so you don’t eat the junk at work.
- Speaking of junk at work, say no (as hard as it can be).
- Don’t make excuses not to workout – just do it. We all have 168 hours in a week, find 2 hours in total to workout.
- Quick workouts that work: Every minute on the minute workouts (EMOM)
7. Help More People.
Here is why I say in your 30’s it is time to start helping more people.
Usually in your 30’s you hear the stories about the people who start to lose a sense of purpose. The passion and fire they had in their 20’s as since evaded them. Managing work and life can be challenging at times.
So in order to restore that passion, consider helping others, here is just a few ways to do so:
- Go volunteer for a local food pantry
- Pick up the free bagels from Panera late night so they go to a good use by donating them!
- Good with money? Mentor someone with their finances – a simple budget works great!
- Coach a youth sports team
- Help some people with something they have challenges with
- See how you can be a team player at work
- Just go to the park and pick up trash with some friends.
8. Pay off debt, and don’t ever get back into it.
Lastly, if you have debt and you are in you are a 30 something year old – it is time to pay it off.
Once you pay it off, never get back into it. Your goal from 30 on should be to have all of your student loans paid off (hopefully by 32 that is the case), working to having no more car payments and then only buying cars cash from here on out.
Being debt free allows you to increase your savings rate and focus on the 40-50-60 years.
The longer you wait to plan for the future the less TIME you have to have your money compound and work for you.
I hear stories about people taking our second mortgages for kid’s college, cars, travel and home improvements. Personally I cringe. Instead, they should be targeting their mortgage and aggressively paying extra and saving more – not going back into debt!
The goal is to have a debt free lifestyle at retirement, not a reverse mortgage and expensive cars that inhibit you from saving!
My 30 something take away:
It is time to start living your life on your terms, but doing that by helping others.
Real talk – I have learned that there are enough people who “Are doing fine.” If you find yourself saying that it most likely means you're comfortable.
In my 30's I want to stay out of my comfort zone as much as possible so that when I am in my 40's, 50's and so on, I am as cool as a cucumber. So I hope you got some points you can use today!
Feel free to comment below with a Happy Bday (Jk, sorta)
Question: What is a goal you have to accomplish in your 30's?
Josh writes about ways to make money, pay off debt, and improve yourself. After paying off $300,000 in student loans with his wife in less than five years, Josh started Money Life Wax and has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post, and more! In addition to being a life-long entrepreneur, Josh and his wife enjoy spending time with their chocolate lab named Morgan, working out, being outside, traveling, and helping others with their finances! I got serious with money when I used Personal Capital to track my finances.