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5 Ways to Take Charge in Your 30s

By madhu on December 3, 2015
Chances are you’re killing it in your career, likely earning more than ever before, expanding your family, and may even be living in your white-picket-fence dream home.

In most cases your 30s and 40s are the prime of your life.

Chances are you’re killing it in your career, likely earning more than ever before, expanding your family, and may even be living in your white-picket-fence dream home.

But with success comes greater financial responsibilities. You probably have a mortgage, credit card bills and after-school activities to worry about—plus your kids’ college education and your own nest egg.

All of this can make the idea of financial security seem like a pipe dream.

1. Get Serious About Unsecured Debt

Unsecured debt, which isn’t backed by an asset like a house, usually carries the highest interest rates—and it can snowball in your 30s.

And this is usually due to the fact that many people turn to credit cards—the most common form of unsecured debt—to help finance costs for a growing household. “And most of the stuff that goes on credit cards are wants, not needs.

If you’re in this scenario, itemize your unsecured debt by interest rate, so you have a clear picture of how much you owe.

Then come up with a plan for paying them off, ideally within five years. One of the most common methods is to tackle the highest-interest debt first, while still paying the minimum on your other cards and loans.


2. Protect Your Income

As your family grows, so does the need to secure your income in the event of your death or disability.

And if you’re the type who thinks, “It won’t happen to me,” think again. According to the Council for Disability Awareness, a healthy, 35-year-old female has a 24% chance of becoming disabled for at least three months sometime during her career, while her male counterpart has a 21% chance.

So if your employer offers disability insurance, consider taking advantage of it, since the company likely gets a discount for group coverage, Nehring says. But if you have to get a private plan, and need to keep your premiums low, consider a policy that pays out benefits for two years—the minimum period typically offered by insurers for long-term disability policies.

Life insurance, meanwhile, might be better purchased privately, since employer-based policies tend to be limited—plus, they may not be portable if you leave your job.

Aim for a policy that’s large enough to cover your net income until your youngest child turns 18 or until the surviving spouse reaches retirement age, along with major debts like a mortgage, credit cards and outstanding student loans.

Schedule a money talk twice a month, in which both of you bring agenda items. The goal: Designate actionable to-dos each person can tackle.


3. Start a College Fund

For the 2014–2015 school year, tuition, fees, and room and board surpassed $30,000 for a private college.

Now imagine how expensive it will be by the time your little ones are ready to leave the nest.

If you have young children, alleviate some of that stress by starting a college fund, such as a ASG Scholarship plan www.asg.

And don’t be afraid to get relatives involved—small monthly gifts from grandparents, or that annual birthday check from an aunt, will compound over time. “The best baby gift you can get is to have family members contribute to education.

4. Schedule Regular Money Talks

During the honeymoon period of a relationship, managing joint finances is usually the last—not to mention least romantic—thing on your mind.

But once you tie the knot, it can often become a source of friction: A 2014 Money magazine poll found that 70% of married couples fight about money.

So as the mortgage, car payments and school costs balloon, it’s important to be on the same financial page. “Continue to practice communication and transparency in your relationship—even as things get more complex,” Bross says.

You can do this by scheduling a money talk twice a month, in which both of you bring agenda items, such as filing taxes or renewing an insurance premium. The goal: Designate actionable to-dos each person can tackle, like calling your accountant or insurance agent.

5. Build Your Financial ‘Dream Team’


Few people can go it totally alone when it comes to managing your finances, especially if you’ve transitioned from a single- to double-income household. So cull a group of professionals who can help guide—and grow—with you.

Your team could include a financial Advisor, who can help you meet short- and long-term money goals; an accountant who understands your evolving tax situation; and an attorney who can work with you on an estate plan.

As you weigh who to partner with, inquire about their credentials, how long they’ve been in business, and whether they can share any client success stories.

“These are people you will ideally have in your corner for quite a while,” says Bross, “so you want to make sure that they are good at imparting the information you need."

For more tips on how to take control of your finances, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Article written by madhu

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