While we’re in our 20’s and into our 30’s, it’s easy to have a “someday” attitude, since retirement feels like light years away. Until then, it’s just easier not to worry so much about finances, since there are decades in between now and then in which to save. But the financial decisions made in our 30’s in particular set the course for our retirement years. If those overpriced daily Starbucks drinks are sounding less appealing, they should.
According to a mortality report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, Americans are living longer, which is all the more reason that financial planning should start as early as possible. If asked how you picture your retirement years, you likely don’t envision you’ll be scraping by, eagerly awaiting Social Security payments so you can pay your rent. Actually, there is no guarantee that Social Security is in the distant future, which is more of an incentive for getting serious about your finances sooner rather than later.
There are many valuable decisions to be made for 30-something’s. It’s certainly a decade of milestones, which can include a home purchase, marriage, birth of a child, career advancement and more. For example, if you don’t have a Roth IRA, there’s no better time to start one. A Roth IRA allows after-tax contributions so there is no income tax on withdrawals. This will pay off if you’re in a higher tax bracket at retirement. The 30’s are for getting out of credit card debt, if any, and building a solid emergency fund. Also, adjusting insurance coverage is likely necessary, as assets grow and life changes take place, needs increase.
Aside from all of the choices to actively make in your 30’s, there are significant mistakes that can be made as well. For example, avoiding life insurance and long-term disability insurance can cost you greatly later. Avoiding the financial conversation before you marry your partner is also a mistake that can lead to issues or at the very least misunderstandings later on. Selling out of your retirement account is a choice that should truly be avoided at all costs. Overspending on a vehicle or other luxury purchase could keep you paying for your decision long after the life of the car.
If you’re optimistic about the future, that’s great, but don’t underestimate the importance of putting a plan in place. It’s easy enough to say, “I plan to retire early!” but if you don’t have the foundation and roadmap to make that happen starting in your 30’s, it likely won’t happen. This decade is the perfect time to plan out your goals and priorities, future lifestyle, develop consistent habits and save as much as possible.
So how much should you be saving and how much do you need for your retirement?
Bayntree Wealth Advisors, located in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona, provides comprehensive financial planning and wealth management. The Bayntree team specializes in all aspects of financial health, including retirement planning, risk management, investment advice, tax strategies, estate planning and insurance.
Bayntree does not provide specific legal or tax advice. Please consult with your tax advisor or legal professional for guidance with your individual situation.