Chapter 5: A financial literacy guide for 30-somethings

While updating this post, I realized I posted it exactly one year ago today. Funny how sometimes things come full circle. I was in SUCH a different (read: dark) headspace when I originally wrote this post. I was just coming off my medical leave from work and adjusting to anti-depressants. Now, life is a little clearer and focused. We have some really exciting updates coming to the blog and will be rolling out some new features in the upcoming weeks and months. I have really felt this blog is a wonderful source of opportunity for me and my family. We are working towards some hefty goals and we are so thankful you’re part of this wild ride. Without further ado, a financial literacy guide for our 30-somethings.

Hey there good-looking, mildly put-together 30-somethings. You look like you’re getting your life in order. You’ve been out of school for a while, settled in a career and starting to wonder what’s next. Or, maybe you’re in your 30s and extremely freaked out, because you thought by NOW you SHOULD have your shit figured out, but you don’t. And hi to everyone in between!

Being in your 30s is waaaaay better than being in your 20s. I think most of us in this age group would agree. However, this is the golden age of comparison and benchmarking. We see others who have more money/time/kids/capital/access than we do and compare ourselves to others. Some are better at not giving a single f—, while others loose sleep over what they do and do not have. I don’t know which way is better, but I do believe once you are content with what you have, all those comparisons fall by the way-side.

You’re more sure of yourself and confident about what you believe and value. A lot of these beliefs and values get tied up into your finances. You’re starting to make some BIG adult decisions which will make you very poor. You may be married or not. You may decide to have kids or not. You may buy a house or rent. So many decisions to make!

If you are in a couple and think this shit is going to last, then you need to start having some brutally honest conversations. If you want to buy a house, where do you want to buy? How big of a house do you want? How much savings do you have for a down-payment? How is your credit score? In the summer of 2017, we did a Home Ownership series, and you may want to review that.

Children. It’s a hot-button topic, with lots of people having lots of opinions. Is this what you want? If so, can you afford them? How many do you want? Can you afford daycare? Not sure what questions to ask? Here is a helpful article to start.

For the sake of time and ensuring we don’t write a novel, we’re going to cap the “big question” segment here. However, asking yourself the right questions (not sure what questions to ask, turn to Google) and how it can affect your money works with any major/minor life choice.

We’re going to pivot now to savings. Best case scenario, you should have about six months worth of income in savings. This may seem lofty (and maybe you can’t do this now) but it’s really important to start saving now. Your prime earning years begin in your 30’s and you need to maximize your earning potential. Refer to our earlier posts here for more info on how to build a realistic budget. What if you have a lot of debt? Read our post about whether you should save or pay off debt.

Next, we move into retirement savings. You may be like, “the f**k guys I can barely save and now you’re asking me to save for retirement?! Something that’s 30 years away?!” Or, you may already have a pretty plush RRSP. If this is you….well….yay! You can probably skip ahead. For others who don’t, you really need to start saving for your retirement. We wrote a post highlighting the need to start saving sooner rather than later. We also had a mini-series on retirement planning, which you can read here.

While you’re building some assets, it is very important to write a will and start estate planning. Ensure your finances are protected in case the unimaginable happens. Make sure you have your Power of Attorney locked up and you know who inherits your money and possessions. This is particularly important if you have kids.

Being in your 30s is a time to work hard, make some big life choices and save. Save for now and the future. Save so you can accomplish your goals and have a life that is awesome. Next, we focus on our 40-something crowd. Thanks for reading!

Photo by Johannes W on Unsplash

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