The Before you Turn 30 Financial Goals Checklist
Financial Goals for your Twenties
Before you hit the big three-oh (30 for those keeping score), there’s a few things you should start seriously thinking about in order to get your financial house in order.
Consider this as a check list of goals to strive for in order to set yourself up for future financial success. It’s kind of like the ‘bucket list’ – only much more boring. But who said boring wasn’t good when it comes to personal finances? I’ve spiced up this list by ways that you can earn ‘bonus points’ by taking these goals to the next level.
1. Start an IRA
Roth IRA or Traditional IRA, it doesn’t matter. The key is to start one and get in the habit of contributing to it. Look for a no-fee IRA through a discount broker. TradeKing houses both my traditional and my Roth IRA. I love the fact that they have zero fees on their IRA and trades are only $4.95. It will literally take you 10 minutes to create the IRA, the hard part is being disciplined enough to fund it.
- Bonus points: Start both and contribute a combined $5,000 max annually.
2. Start an Emergency Fund
This recession has many takeaways, some of which (i.e. trading strategies, cash positions, etc.) are easily debated. One lesson learned that is almost impossible to argue against is the merits of creating an emergency savings fund. I’d recommend at least 6 months of living expenses, especially after having seen my wife get laid off and go three months without finding steady work – you never know how long it will take you to recover.
- Bonus points: Save a year’s worth of living expenses.
3. Get your Employer’s 401K Match
Whether your employer has a 401K match of 5% or 50% of your 401K contributions, don’t turn down any of this free cash if you can afford it.
- Bonus points: If you can contribute the IRS Max 401K Contribution by the age of 30, you get extreme bonus points.
4. Eliminate all Bad Debt
That’s right, get all those credit cards, auto, and other high interest loans paid off. If you have a mortgage or student debt, you probably have better ways to direct your excess cash flow, so don’t stress if your interest rates are low.
- Bonus points: Pay off all high interest (4% and up) student loan debt.
5. Create a Monthly Budget Plan
Take an afternoon and sit down to create a monthly budget of all income sources and expenses. This is an essential move for EVERYONE. Want a template to start, check out this free budgeting spreadsheet.
- Bonus points: Cut your expenses (and maximize income) enough to be in the black every single month.
6. Set Some Serious Short and Long-Term Career Goals
Create a 2, 5, and 10 year plan to put yourself on the right track in your career. I’ve seen so many family members and friends waste away in their twenties to the point that if I were a prospective employer I would have serious reservations about what they did in all the years between high school and their job application. Do something that puts you closer to your long-term goal AT ALL TIMES. Don’t waste away a month, before you know it, it will be a year gone by. Waste away a year, and soon it will be five.
- Bonus points: Settle into your long-term career (not just your job).
Financial Goals Discussion:
- What would you add to or subtract from this list?
- In your opinion, what is the most important thing to accomplish financially by the age of 30?
- How many of the 6 checks have you completed already?