Personal finance expert Coleen Pantalone shares important financial goals and habits to make by your 30s.
- Max out on your 401K and when you switch jobs, rollover the 401K from your prior employer – don’t spend it!
- Have six months of take-home pay saved. It should be in a savings or a money market account. In an emergency, it is fine to spend it down, just make sure to build it back up.
- Pay your credit card bills in full each month. By 30, you should have a good sense of your income and expenses and you should have reached a point where you can keep them in balance. If this isn’t the case, get a budget tool and use it diligently. Credit card debt is very expensive.
- Make sure you have a will, a power of attorney, and a health care proxy. This is a good habit. You most likely don’t need elaborate trusts or the like (probate isn’t that awful), but you do need to make your wishes known just in case.
- Check your credit reports habitually (one each from the three major companies) once a year – do it at tax time.
- Annually take stock of where you are and where you want to go financially. Make any necessary tweaks.
- Make a list of what is where in terms of your assets and liabilities. If you belong to the “throw the paper in a crate” group, get a file cabinet and use it. Set up a simple-to-use system so you aren’t inundated with paper. Think about receiving your documents electronically to minimize paper, but then make sure someone else knows where those assets and liabilities are! Electronic documents are really hard for someone else to find.