Life’s busy for people in their 30s with statistics showing many Australians buy a house and start a family while their age has a three in front of it.
So how can 30-somethings be in the best position to afford these big expenses while ensuring that they are building a suitable nest egg for retirement?
Keep on top of the paperwork
It’s important to have a clear picture of your financial situation, says financial planner Michael Miller from MLC Advice Centre.
“The first step is just to know what you own and what you owe,” he says.
“From there it’s great if you can know what income is coming in, and what’s going out in expenses. If you know these basic items you’re a long way down the road of finishing work one day in good financial shape.
“But if you’ve lost touch with where you are financially it’s a lot easier to avoid any problem areas and delay making a change – and that won’t help you in the long run.”
People in their 30s spend many years saving in an inner-city apartment or their parents’ house. Being financially ambitious is not always a bad quality, but financial planner Chris Browne from Rising Tide Financial Services says it pays to keep realistic goals.
“Many people forget that their parents may have taken decades to live in a nice and fashionable furnished home or been in a position to purchase an inner-city investment property,” he says.
As the household expands, it’s important to organise a household budget and stick to it, advises Mr Browne.
This is particularly essential for those who failed to save much in their 20s. It’s never too late to start good savings habits and get the finances sorted for the future.
“All it takes is a simple but clear plan, a good dose of discipline, and some small compromises along the way,” he says.
Build your financial knowledge by talking to professionals, reading books and sourcing information online.
“Ask an accountant, a financial planner, a mortgage broker, a solicitor – each will bring a slightly different perspective,” Mr Miller says.
“If you’re not sure about advice that you’ve been given, ask someone for a second opinion.
“You can even ask your friends. While they shouldn’t be your only source of advice they might be able to identify what has worked well for them, and importantly what hasn’t worked well, so you can avoid making the same mistake.”
Insure your lifestyle
Life and income insurance are considered a luxury by many, but if the unforeseen should occur it can help your family get back on track.
“It’s unexciting and some people consider it morbid, but all your plans to save a deposit, travel, repay a mortgage, put kids through school, retire, pursue hobbies are based on earning an income from work or business for another 20, 30 or even 40 years,” says Mr Miller.
“People in their 30s have so much of their working lives in front of them and if that’s taken away by ill health or an accident, there needs to be a backup plan to make sure you’re still financially secure to live your life.”