30 Things You Can Do To Prepare Your Finances For Your 30s

“How does it feel to be in your 30s?”

I still remember this conversation from the pool bar in Punta Cana with an older dude when 34 felt old. I was 19 at the time and ready to take on the world. This guy was chilling out and having a few beers while we chugged down shots. We were ready to tear it up. The party was dying down, but we weren’t planning on stopping anytime soon.

I couldn’t imagine being in my 30s. I told myself that I was going to be young forever. As I finish this article, I’m hanging out in Cartagena, Colombia. I didn’t stop traveling. I did break my word on being 19 forever.

At the end of 2017 I turn 30. It feels weird. On one end, I’m pretty stoked for it because I’ve been preparing throughout my 20s. On the other side, I obviously want to be a careless 20-something forever. I know that turning 30 will lead to more questions about settling down and getting married (not happening).

30 rules for 30

I always thought that people were serious in their 30s. I thought that 30 meant calling it quits and being a grown up. I was wrong. I’m always joking around. Most of my friends are also still having a blast. I also believe that 30 is NOT the new 20 and that life comes with many different stages. You don’t want to be the person that’s stuck at the same stage forever. I want you to be prepared for and to embrace the next stage. I don’t want you to panic when you turn 30 because you never took your finances seriously when you were in your 20s.

What did the experts have to say about money in your 30s?

My friend Bridget wrote about 30 financial milestones.

“While it can be hard to quell jealousy when someone is enjoying more financial success than you, your situation is yours and you have to manage it best you can.”

Whatever happens to your money by the time you hit 30 is on you. There’s no need to be jealous of others or to blame the world for your problems.

There’s also this great post on 30 lessons learned by 30 written by Stefanie O’Connell

“I think we can agree that the traditional narrative of do well in school, get into a good college and get a good job is a far from a sufficient recipe for success. It also promises a kind of order to growth that is notably absent from the roller coaster of reality.”

More education won’t solve all of your problems. At some point you have to think outside the box and work on improving yourself.

Jeff Rose wrote about 30 financial rules at Good Financial Cents.

“Your time is probably more valuable than just about anything else. Value your time. You don’t need to constantly trade your time for money. Look for ways to maximize your time, and to earn more efficiently.”

As you go through your 20s I hope that you find ways to maximize your time. You’ll only build real wealth if your money works for you.

Thoughts at 30 @ Eric Rosenberg.

“I’ve come to realize that the best time to follow a dream is today. Every time you put it off, it becomes less and less likely to ever come true. And when your dream involves uprooting yourself and having a worldly experience, it becomes exponentially harder as you pass from your early twenties into your thirties and beyond.”

Eric has quit his job and moved his family to California. Right now’s the best time to take risks.

The 20-something checklist @ Britt and The Benjamins.

“We’ve all been taught that failure is scary and something we should avoid, but in your 20s, you need to change that mindset and actually pursue it.  Failure means you’re taking risks and trying new things and growing as a person.”

There are enough quotes out there about failure. I’ll tell you this. Nobody will remember your failures. Fail as often as you can and then look back with a smile.

30 financial milestones by 30 @ Investment Zen.

“Every income stream you have on top of your day job is one more string in your bow in case of a job loss. It’s also rocket fuel towards financial independence.”

Agreed. Once you stabilize your main source of income, it’s important to work on your side hustle and other income streams.

How do you set your up finances for your 30s?

1. Get aggressive with your debt.

You have to pay off your debt because you don’t want to be 40 with debt that’s holding you down. You also don’t to be limited in life because of some poor decisions that you made in your 20s. Put in the work in your 20s to crush your debt so that you can still have fun in your 30s.

2. Make as much money as possible.

This is your time to make some money and to build a cash reserve for your 30s.

The reality is that you have more energy than ever in your 20s. You can still party on a work night. You can work multiple jobs. You can get away with a lot.

Try to make as much money as you can because life may hit you hard in your 30s (kids, mortgage, and so on). Take advantage of your time and energy while you still have both.

3. Start investing money.

Something has to change. It’s time to invest some money so that you can build wealth and do the things you’ve always wanted to. You can try your hand at anything from real estate to the stock market. Let your money work for you.

4. Work on your credit.

The fun doesn’t have to end. You just need to stop racking up your credit card bill every weekend. You want to start thinking about your credit score because you don’t want to be useless when it comes time to apply for a home mortgage.

You need to have good credit in life. You may even need a good credit score to rent and for some jobs. The sooner you start working on it, the better off you’ll be.

5. Start thinking about settling down.

I hate to write this, but it might be time to think about some consistency. Settling down doesn’t mean giving up. It might be time to look into real estate and a steady schedule. It might be time to stop running away from everything. You might want to create a routine that sets you up for success.

Okay, that’s all I have to say on that topic.

6. Get your risks out of the way.

If you don’t take risks in your 20s you won’t have stories to tell when you’re older. You also don’t want to die with regrets.

Look, I’m not some hippie. I won’t sing songs with you by the campfire while we talk about how passionate we are. I’m a pretty practical dude. You can still be practical while taking a few risks in your 20s. All of the financial advice in the world is useless if you end up miserable.

Take as many risks as you can tolerate before you settle down.

7. Do something that you’ve always wanted to do.

Speaking of risks, you think that it’s going to be easier to start that business when you’re 40 with kids? Do you think that you can start that new hobby in ten years?

Do the things that you’ve always wanted to do right now. Don’t wait.

8. Focus on your lifestyle.

“Omg it’s so cold outside. Can we skip today?”

I used to take the bus at six in the morning with my neighbor (until he started taking afternoon classes). I didn’t look forward to getting up that early for the bus. In the winter months it was always dark and miserable. I always dreaded looking outside.

Why did I do this? To create a better lifestyle for myself in the future. I saved throughout college and graduated debt-free so that I could create my dream lifestyle in the future.

Can you maintain your current lifestyle? Do you want to make changes? What’s your ideal lifestyle?

Ask yourself these questions as you work on making your dream lifestyle a reality.

9. Stop relying on your parents.

Leave your parents alone. Move out. Treat them to something nice.

Last year we threw my mom a surprise party for her 50th birthday. Your parents put the work in. Leave them alone now.

Here’s a video of us throwing a surprise party for my mom’s 50th. Ignore the awful singing and just follow me on Instagram.

SURPRISE! We pulled off the surprise 50th birthday.

A video posted by Martin (@mrdashing87) on

10. Start cooking.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy eating out as much as anyone. However, you can’t be going out for food on a daily basis. Cooking isn’t that bad. It’s actually kind of relaxing.

Cooking will also help your social life. Have you ever had a date come over for a home cooked meal? Try this next weekend.

11. Figure out how to use credit cards.

You’re at the point now where you can’t blame college or society for your poor choices with credit cards. You also can’t spend your entire life claiming that credit cards are evil. A credit card is the easiest access to credit when you’re young.

12. Stop falling in love with everyone you meet.

It’s your journey. People will jump on and jump off. That’s okay. Keep your eye on the prize and try to stay focused. It’s okay to be a little selfish as you chase your own bold goals. You should also never try to force a relationship. What’s meant to be will always work out.

13. Learn how to save for big purchases.

Have you saved up for a major purchase?

I want you to try saving up for one big purchase. I want you to get into the habit of setting financial goals and reaching them.

I know that saving sucks. You know what sucks even more? Putting everything on credit or not being able to move out on your own.

14. Stop holding on to grudges.

Stop living in the past. Learn to move on with your life. I had to include this in here because I see too many friends holding on to events from the past.

15. Take accountability for your life.

Everything that happens in your life is on you. Stop looking to blame someone else for your troubles. Stop worrying about conspiracy theories and thinking that the world’s out to get you.

16. Make a major investment into yourself.

I firmly believe in investing in yourself. This is the best investment that you could make. Take some courses, buy that book, go on that trip, and put money into yourself whenever you can.

If you don’t invest in yourself, then who will?

17. Master a new skill and hustle for an extended period of time.

Do you want to learn something new? Is there something that you want to master? I want you to go through an intense period of hustle at some point. You’ll always look back at this period of your life fondly because of what you were able to accomplish.

For more motivation listen to my podcast, Do You Even Hustle.

18. Stop consuming so much!

I don’t do moderation well. This is why I don’t want to hear about a new Netflix series nor do I click on random videos on social media.

Try consuming less and producing more. You can’t be upset about your lack of results if you never produce anything.

19. Take your taxes seriously.

Taxes are something that you definitely can’t avoid in your life. Take your taxes seriously because you’re going to have to deal with them every single year.

20. Try freelancing.

When in doubt, freelance. There’s nothing like making money on your own. You may even end up freelancing full-time. We’ve done a few episodes of Studenomics TV on this topic so I won’t be too repetitive here.

21. Stop stressing over your favorite sports team.

I can’t believe the Leafs lost!”

I’ve seen friends have their entire day ruined because their team lost.

Does this really matter? Of course not.

I know that I’m the minority here. I only watch pro wrestling and MMA. I don’t care about anything else. I went to my first NHL hockey game this year and I enjoyed it. The Leafs won so I guess I was pretty happy. In reality, their result had zero impact on my life.

22. Start training.

Are you working out? Are you in shape?

Right now’s the best opportunity to start training because you have so much of that energy that we spoke of earlier. You don’t have to go “hardcore” and start posting about every workout. You can start off by joining a local kettlebell class.

Working out has many benefits, ranging from the social aspect to looking great.

23. Try giving back.

“To be successful you have to be selfish, or else you never achieve. And once you get to your highest level, then you have to be unselfish. Stay reachable. Stay in touch. Don’t isolate.” — Michael Jordan

One of the best parts of experiencing success is being able to return the help. You can give back financially or by offering your time. Whenever you’re feeling down, try to help others. This can be pretty powerful.

24. Find a mentor and mentor someone.

“Alexander the Great valued learning so highly, that he used to say he was more indebted to Aristotle for giving him knowledge than to his father Philip for life.” — Samuel Smiles

Instead making all of your own mistakes, it’s much easier to find someone to share their wisdom with you. Then you can turn around and help someone else learn from your mistakes.

I personally owe everything to friends who’ve been kind enough to help me out on everything from renting out a rental property to trying to figure out how to properly do a squat.

As they say, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

25. Learn to sell yourself.

Life’s about selling yourself. This ranges from first dates to asking for a raise at work. You can’t be afraid of selling yourself. Your 20s are the perfect time to get plenty of practice in this field.

26. Go on a random trip.

Have you traveled anywhere? Take a chance and go somewhere random. Get this adventure out of your system while you still can.

Just the other day I ended up on a run excursion to a mud bath in a volcano with strangers in Colombia. You can find these pictures on my aforementioned Instagram account.

27. Do something absolutely foolish.

I had to include this on the list because we all make mistakes in our 20s. Have some stories that will instantly crack you up upon thinking of them. There are a few tales that get me to burst into laughter whenever I think of them.

28. Plan for retirement.

Have you starting planning for retirement?

You don’t want to be working forever. I started planning for my retirement at 17. I don’t want to work forever. I’m not some financial dork. I just always wanted an easy life. You don’t want to be working into your 70s.

29. Consider buying a rental property.

When I wrote about building wealth, I mentioned how I’ve done this through real estate. I’ve purchased a few rental properties and done everything on my own. I’ve been lucky enough to make money through real estate.

30. Have a financial game plan.

Your goal should be to enjoy your life in your 30s. I want my life to be easier. I don’t want to work as hard in my 30s as I did in my 20s. I want to travel and see the world. I want to keep on going on adventures. I want to be able to go out whenever I want to. I want to be on the mats and in the weight room on a daily basis. This is why you need to have a game plan. Hope’s never a game plan. Make a simple plan and work towards it. Don’t expect things to magically improve because you’re a good person.

Good luck with getting the most out of your 20s. Your 30s can be the best years of your life if you start planning in your 20s. I’m curious to hear how you’re setting yourself up in your 20s. I would also love to hear from those in their 30s.

Life doesn’t have to be about extremes. You don’t have to give up your fun today to enjoy the future.

6 thoughts on “30 Things You Can Do To Prepare Your Finances For Your 30s”

  1. Alexis @FITnancials

    I’m getting rid of my student loans as soon as possible, and paying it off in large chunks when I can.

  2. What a fitting article for me to stumble across, mere weeks after my 30th birthday, which I coincidentally spent in Cartagena 🙂

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