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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The 3 Biggest Financial Objectives You Should Aim For in Your 30s

Ah, our industrious 30s – the years when we’re focussed on making cash, getting promotions and starting a family. To draw inspiration from Charles Dickens, these can be the best of years and the worst of years. But one thing is for sure – this is the decade of your life will be financially confusing!


Why?

Simply because the amount of financial responsibilities (and liabilities) you’ll have to deal with in your 30s usually dwarfs anything you had to deal with during your 20s. You have to provide for your family, service big loans (home, car, education) AND save for retirement.

While your salary is no doubt increasing, you’ll still possibly struggle with trying to take care of all of your financial responsibilities. Hopefully you already established your financial groundwork during your 20s by paying off your credit card debt, starting your retirement savings and creating an emergency fund.

If you’re still working on those in your 30s, that’s OK. Continue to work on them. If you’ve already taken care of those objectives, focus your energy on these 3 financial objectives you should focus on in your 30s:

#1 Continue the “Good Fight” Against Debt

Credit card debt can be about as tough to kill as one of those movie monsters you grew up watching. You know the movies that spawn numerous sequels that are progressively worse than the last one? Anyway, if you haven’t taken care of it by your 30s, continue to work on it is.

There are many strategies for taking care of credit card debt, but one of the easiest and quickest ways to knock it out is to do the following:
  1. Evaluate and list the balances on each of your credit cards (ideally, the debt-to-credit ratio of each as well, which is explained in the section below)
  1. Determine which credit card you want to pay off first (see section below)
  1. Pay the minimum plus an additional 2X-4X+ the minimum on that credit card to pay it off faster
  1. Once it’s paid off, apply the additional amount you paid on the first card plus the minimum of the first card towards your second credit card
  1. Rinse and repeat until you’ve destroyed your credit card debt
Also, keep in mind that choosing the right card to prioritise and pay off is extremely important too, so make sure you read our article on destroying credit card debt to make the right choice.

Remember, the more debt you pay off, the more you can use towards your other debt obligations so you can pay them off faster. That means your home, car and/or education loan.

#2 Start Saving Now For Your Kids’ Education

Your 30s is a time when children start to enter the picture. Needless to say, kids are a lifetime commitment that’ll bring you plenty of joy and sleepless nights. Not to mention your budget will get much tighter because your kids’ needs will come first – and boy do they have needs!

However, it isn’t just your kids’ basic life necessities you must save and budget for – you’ve got to save for their future too!

Thankfully, there are plenty of options available that’ll help you save towards your kids’ future education expenses. In fact, many banks and insurance companies in Singapore offer a variety plans ranging from 2-in-1 life insurance plans to education savings plans.

Of course, you don’t have to do this, especially if you feel that your kids should struggle with paying off an education loan the same way you did (hey, it’s a life lesson right?) But if you’re the generous sort that wants to prevent your kids from such a struggle, set aside some money in your 30s (and possibly 40s) for your kids’ education.

#3 Re-evaluate Your Insurance Policies

Hopefully during your 20s you picked up the three life insurance policies that you absolutely need – medical insurance, life insurance (term or whole life) and long-term disability insurance.

If you have those insurance policies, great! If you don’t *slap* get them! And if you have those policies but haven’t evaluated them *slap* evaluate them! I mean really, if you haven’t re-evaluated your policy in the last year or two – that’s still too long of a wait.

The reality is that your life can change drastically in as little as six months to a year – you could get married (or divorced), have a child, buy a home/car or change jobs. All of these activities can have a big impact on your insurance policy’s coverage and premium.

So make sure you speak to your Financial Advisor (FA) or insurer (if you’re handling your own insurance) about making adjustments to your policies that’ll reflect the most recent changes in your life. If you’re a DIY kind of guy or girl, make sure you check out our insurance page so that you can compare the insurance policies offered by Singapore’s major insurers quickly, easily and free of charge.

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