One of the hallmarks of being an adult is having a job, an emergency fund with about six months’ worth of living expenses (in cash) and starting to save for retirement, whether through your employer’s program or an IRA or SEP of your own. In “3 Smart Money Moves to Make in Your 30s,” Motley Fool outlines three important tasks for your financial “to-do” list.
- Bump up retirement savings. While still at an early stage of your career, saving for retirement should be your #1 priority. Remember that the earlier you begin to save, the better it is because there’s more time for your money to compound for you. You may also not have any big financial commitments yet, like a home and family. It is important to save as much as you can now, because it becomes a lot more difficult when you have added financial responsibilities. If you’re not maxing out your contributions to your retirement account at work, think about upping your deferral by at least 1% a year—if your salary also increases each year.
- Manage risks. Two of your greatest assets are your health and your ability to earn income. You need to protect those assets. One option to protect your income stream, is to invest in disability insurance and life insurance. The Social Security Administration says there’s a 1-in-4 chance that a 20-year-old will become disabled during his or her working life. The loss of income due to a short-term or long-term injury or disability can have a dramatic impact on your life and finances. Your income is important to your well-being and to your livelihood. It is important to determine if your employer has disability insurance and to check to see if the coverage fits your situation. Your need for life insurance depends, to a great degree, on whether you have someone else who depends upon your income. If there is no such person, then there's a good chance you don't need life insurance. However, if you have children or support your elderly parents, a policy may be needed.
- Create an estate plan with an experienced attorney. Don’t stick your head in the sand on this because you think you are too young. If you have a family and assets, you need an estate plan to protect your family from the cost and stress of probate and to distribute your assets when you die. An estate planning attorney will know what documents you need, from a will and power of attorney to health care directives. This will also help you review your beneficiary designations. Certain assets, like retirement accounts and insurance policies, are governed by the beneficiary designation, no matter what your will might say. You should check those beneficiary designations to keep up with changes in your life. Thirty is when a lot of people marry and have children, so this is an especially important time of your life to keep these current.
Reference: Motley Fool (February 22, 2017) “3 Smart Money Moves to Make in Your 30s”