#TBT: Financial Planning Basics: for 30-Somethings

Why, yes, I am in my 30s and so are a good many of my peers who will be reading this site. It's a weird time to be alive isn't it? You're all of a sudden very aware of the fact that you're no longer a kid and you have to officially make that last leap to become an adult. Many adults are getting married in their 30s, having kids, and buying their first home...maybe not necessarily in that order, but odds are you're moving on up to "adultdom" in some capacity.

In my financial planning studies, I read an interesting article in the Australian (go figure) edition of Money Magazine which breaks down financial planning suggestions and checklists for individuals (and couples) in each decade of life going into retirement.

Once you get into your 30s, here are just a few things to think about as start financial planning in this new decade. However, I always suggest that you don't go at it alone: consult a financial adviser (like moi) who can answer all of your questions and concerns in your retirement and life planning.

1. Consolidate Old IRAs and 401(k)s

Odds are you may have left a job your two before reaching your 30s, leaving old 401(k) and other retirement plans at these companies. To avoid losing money over the long-term in the form of fees, it's wise to move these funds over to a Rollover IRA account. By consolidating these old fund, you can a) invest in whatever you want and b) avoid the fund management fees that come after your employer stops paying them. Take a few minutes and DO IT.

2. Have a Property Plan

Buying a home is probably the biggest investment you'll ever make, so it goes without saying that doing some major planning will help in the long-run. Taxes, home repairs, on top of the mortgage, are big things to consider...and to make sure you have enough money to cover everything.

3. Refine Your Budget (or If You Neglected it in Your 20s, Start One)

A budget is a no-brainer anyway, but it's particularly important in your 30s with more and more big expenses (house) and expensive people (your kids) in your life. There is a lot to lose from bad money habits, so having a budget will make sure that you can worry less and have everything settled.

4. Check Your Insurance

Having a home, spouse, children who depend on you, etc. are ALL valid reasons to have insurance. Protect the things you have from loss and protect your own life so that your loved ones won't be stuck with unnecessary debt or expenses on top of losing you. Also make sure that you have the coverage you need so that you aren't paying too much or too less in premiums.

5. Do Some Tax Planning

There can be lots of tax benefits that you may be missing...yes, even if you use TurboTax and H&R Block. Getting some 'real' tax help for a change will help set you up for the future. Having kids, home ownership, extra income, deaths, even driving certain cars can impact your taxes - so have a professional who knows the current tax code for some help.

6. Make a Will

I know it's hard to think about dying, especially at this time, but having a will is less for your peace of mind (it's inevitable, you will die one day): families can be torn apart after a death just because the person died without a valid will. A will ensures that the people you leave behind will be okay without you AND with each other. Wills can vary depending on your state, so make sure yours is valid for wherever you live. Additionally, you should update your will after every major life event: marriage, divorce, a child's birth, another family member's death, buying a large asset, acquiring something valuable, etc.

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