As we move from the (mostly) financially carefree days of our 20s, many of us will face a whole new set of challenges.
When I reached this terrifyingly more adult stage of life, I was hit by a nasty reality check: I hadn’t set myself up. Financially, I was in the same position as the decade I’d just waved goodbye to and I was still eating instant noodles like they’re a nutritious food group.
Our 20s are about getting in the groove with our saving habits and taking advantage of only having to consider ourselves financially. Often in our 30s, the biggest shift is including others in our life plans.
“Considerations start to change,” Financial Planner Robert Reid tells us. “You start to think about trade-offs. How much should you spend on a house? How many children should you have? How long do you want to keep working for? Each of these new decisions has both short and long term financial effects.”
If you’re like me and didn’t lay good financial foundations in your 20s, Robert says all is not lost – you might just have to work a bit harder to keep up. The key is knowing what your priorities are and allocating the right amount of time, money and effort to them.
“Don’t get sucked into keeping up with the Joneses,” Robert says, “Be really clear on your values and how they translate to tangible goals in order to say no to the things that aren’t important.”
So what new challenges can we expect to face in our 30s? Here are the top ones.
#1 Building a family
I always thought kids weren’t that expensive; I mean food’s sorted (free milk on tap) and when they get over that, they live on sweet potato puree. So what’s the stress about?
“In the short term, the biggest cost of having children is foregone wages from parental leave,” Robert says. “By planning ahead you can make decisions based on what’s best for the family rather than necessity.”
He suggests a trial of living off one salary before children come along – use the other income as a savings buffer.
Long term, there’s childcare, education, insurance – the list goes on. Again, Robert advises planning ahead to relieve the stress.
“Unless you’re on a very high income, even two kids at private school can cost upwards of $50,000, after tax, which can take up an entire annual salary. Spreading that cost over 15 – 20 years rather than trying to find it all during the 6 years of high school is much less stressful”
Once you’ve had a child, you can open a Westpac Bump account to start saving for them. For any baby born in 2017 in Australia, Westpac will deposit $200 into the account as a kickstart.
Your 30s are a time when home ownership is likely to be on the radar. Robert recommends being realistic. This doesn’t just mean working out how much you can spend on a mortgage, this means looking at your lifestyle and what you’re prepared to give up.
You also need to consider those unexpected costs like fluctuating interest rates and make sure you can fund them. There are also costs involved owning a home which Robert says are commonly overlooked.
“Council rates, strata fees, repairs and maintenance and all the other expenses associated with home ownership can add up to one or two percent of the value of the home, which on a $700,000 home will add $7,000 to $14,000 in expenses to your budget”.
Having insurance at any stage of life is important, but when you have a family to look after, it’s an essential expense.
“With large mortgages and kids, protecting your family increases in importance. Understanding what death or disability would do to your family finances and having policies that plug this gap is crucial to having your financial house in order,” Rob says.
There are a bunch of different kinds of insurance out there, and the kinds you require will depend on your personal situation. Health insurance and contents insurance are a good place to start. If you own property or a car, you’ll need to insure that too. ASIC’s Money Smart has a good guide for what to look for when you’re purchasing insurance.
You think it’s far off in the future, but your 30s are the time to zone in on your retirement plan. Again, you may have a family or be planning one, so you’ll need to prepare for how you’ll all cope down the line.
It might seem your 30s is all doom and gloom and huge financial responsibilities are ready to swallow you whole. There are added pressures but it’s also a time where you’ll start seeing rewards. If you plan for this change and focus on your intended goals now, it’s going to be a lot easier.
We are here to offer guidance to help you achieve your financial and life goals. Feel free to contact us at 08 8231 4709 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Article reproduced from TheCusp
by Katy Moore