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30 Somethings Financial Benchmarks

Updated on March 18, 2015

If you are a 30 something I know that you are going through your pre-midlife (financial) crisis because you have no idea what financial markers you should have met at this stage in their life. You are probably getting married and starting a family so your focus has shifted from yourself to the people around them; thus, making sure your family is financial secure has become your number one priority. Here are the financial milestones you should complete in your 30s so that your family is on track if you are on the traditional route to retirement. If you have not read my 20 Somethings Financial Benchmark blog please read that blog first as if you have not completed all the benchmarks on that list then the benchmarks you have missed should be your first priority to complete.

Purchase a home

If you did not purchase a home in your twenties, (and you meet the guidelines from my So You Think You Ready to Buy a Home blog) it is time. Home purchasing is a staple when it comes building wealth. According to the Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley, 97% on millionaires own homes that they live in for 20 plus years. If you purchase a home in your 20 or 30s that you live in for at least 15-20 years you will be able to take advantage of the appreciation in your home value. Your net worth will grow substantially with you virtually doing nothing. This is why it is important to purchase (and pay off) a home before you exit your thirties.

Update Insurance

By your 30s you probably have a family and are making a lot more money then you were in your 20s. If so, you need to make sure you have the proper amount of life insurance. If you purchased life insurance in your 20s please review the insurance amount to make sure it is in line with your current salary. If something happens to you having the right amount of life insurance will be a great relief to your heirs.

Plan your Estate

Most people think they do not need to estate plan because they do not have millions of dollar; however this is far from the truth. If you have a bank account or own a home or car with equity, you need to plan your estate. If you have dependents the need to plan is magnified because your dependents need to have easy access to your estate quickly and efficiently.

There are five documents you must have in your estate plan. Each document serves a specific purpose so make sure you have all of them in your plan.

1) Will

2) Trust

3) Financial Power of Attorney

4) Durable Power of Attorney

5) Letters to close friends and family

Side Business

If you started a side business in your twenties (hopefully) it has grown to a level where you can rely on the income from the side business to fund your life. If so, you can continue to work both your day job and your side business or just work the side business and put full-time energy and time into building it up to its full potential. This should give you more flexibility and time to do the things you enjoy.

Retirement Savings

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it ... he who doesn't ... pays it.”

Albert Einstein

If you were not able to max out your retirement plans in your twenties it’s time to make whatever adjust needed to maximize these plans. Cut expenses, get a 3rd job and/or sale things so that you can fully funding your 401K (up to the match) and a Roth IRA. Start maxing out these accounts as soon as possible so that compounding interest has time to work its magic.

Emergency Fund

As I stated in my Rainy Day Fund blog, you need at least three months of expenses in your emergency fund. You determine how much you feel comfortable having in this account above the three months. Since your expenses have likely increased from your 20s, it time to reevaluate the amount in your emergency fund. If you are below whatever amount you have designated you need in this account, you need to add money to this account ASAP. This is one of the key components of building a solid financial future.

Homework

1) If you are falling short on the 20 somethings benchmark develop a plan to finish these ASAP.

2) If you are falling short on the 30 somethings benchmark develop a plan to finish these ASAP.

3) Share this with friends and family that may need the information.

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