For a generation that has grown up on a steady diet of Hollywood movies, ‘13 Going on 30’ rings a bell. The rom com centres on 13-year-old Jenna Rink who wants to be “thirty and flirty and thriving!” Her dream comes true, but she later realises what turning thirty means -- certainly not a cake walk!
The heading might sound like some crazy ideas but this is more on the financial front as money is not everything but it’s pretty close. One who’s yet to turn 30 should consider these 13 things to do:
1. Think long-term: Radhika, 25, works in a tech firm. Turning 30 in some years does not give her the jitters; she has it all planned out, with a little help from her mentor, an aunt. Radhika decided to ask herself key questions on her goals. It was important for her to ensure that her kid sister was secure financially. Their parents had passed away when they were teens and they had been raised by her aunt. Everyone has different goals and it’s important to think of the long-term, even if one has a good support system at home, financially and otherwise.
2. Have a plan: Sorting out long-term goals makes it is easy to chalk out a concrete plan. That plan could include allocating funds for each goal -- a certain portion for buying that dream house, a part of it for other aspirations, one part for savings and so on. In Radhika’s case, term insurance with an income protection plan was her priority. She wanted to make sure that her younger sister had some sort of income in the unfortunate event of her own death.
3. Start saving: Setting aside a part of one’s income when one is still young can mean a substantial savings fund in the future, irrespective of whether a 20-something is free from responsibilities or is the breadwinner of the family.
4. Plan for post-retirement: It’s never too early to plan for post-retirement. Set a retirement age and work towards creating a safety net before turning 30. Post 30, things may get complex on various fronts and people may even drop the idea of saving for retirement, busy as they are grappling with the present.
5. Pay bills on time: This seems like an obvious thing to say, but clearing bills on time earns youngster much-needed boost in their credit history. How about setting up automated payments and reminders so bad credit doesn’t mar future financial goals? It is a simple yet good habit to cultivate before turning 30.
6. Earn trust at work: It is important for a young person to build solid interpersonal relationships at work. This helps in earning trust and respect, two ingredients that will boost a person’s standing in an organisation, and consequently, financial being, well into their 30s and 40s.
7. Stay ambitious: A good thing to have in great measure is ambition and focus. For Radhika, ambition was very important as it would help her scale the career ladder faster. This would strengthen her financial situation and allow her to budget, plan and secure her future.
8. Master personal finance: By thirty, a person should have a sound knowledge of anything related to personal finance. The youngster should know what kind of insurance is ideal for their situation, for example, or why it is important. In Radhika’s case, she had schooled herself on the benefits of term insurance, apart from learning how to budget her income and learn about investments and savings.
9. Maintain work-life balance: Learning to draw the line between work and personal life is important for not just one’s physical health but also mental health. The 30s can otherwise become turbulent. A healthy lifestyle ensures that an individual doesn’t burnout and hit financial hurdles.
10. Exercise and eat healthy: In her 20s, Radhika knew that she had to get some sort of exercise regimen going. She also consciously cut down on junk food, and maintained a healthy diet. She had a dependent and therefore was conscious of her choices, which explains her interest in the term insurance, for example. What’s more, premium rates are lower for a teetotaller or non-smoker.
11. Be self-reliant: By their mid-20s, youngsters should try to move out of their parents’ home and live on their own. It helps them gain perspective on managing their finances well and gives them space to figure out things on their own.
12. Take chances: Being ready to take on the thirties doesn’t mean being risk-averse. The younger one is, the greater the opportunity to take some chances -- an opportunity to start up a firm, a chance to study or settle abroad. The risks can always be balanced out with sound planning.
13. Learn to say no: It is important to define boundaries, and say no when one is uncomfortable with something. This is a life lesson that will help people not just through their thirties but beyond. It is a lesson that eventually helps people say yes to the things that truly matter to them.
The present is just as important as the future. Sure, you have a lifetime of opportunities ahead of you, but starting young is key to making the most of those opportunities. Make sure you’ve ticked off these important milestones before you turn 30 and get cracking on plenty more that will come your way.
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