After a decade of trial and error and growth, most people learn to overcome the most common financial mistakes as they turn 30. But as they enter a new decade, they will be welcomed with new challenges.
Here is the compiled list of the worst financial mistakes that anyone can make before turning 30, a key time in anyone’s development and future, as it is often the time to buy a home, build relationships, start a family, and save for retirement.
1. Saving too much in wrong products
Investing is important, but people in their 30’s often overemphasize their pension funds and other retirement savings plans, and put savings aside for other large purchases.
But there are other important purchases on the horizon, especially if you’re having children or thinking about having a house, for which you’ll need savings.
Put money into a pension plan, but don’t forget to set aside money for other things, such as a house, a car, a good vacation or your children’s education. It is recommended setting up different savings accounts for specific purchases. Take a look at the options your bank offers and see if it allows you to create different savings accounts.
2. Prioritize your children’s education over your own retirement
While focusing too much on the pension plan is a common financial mistake, not saving enough money for retirement is also a common problem, especially when child’s education expenses come into effect.
Obviously, your children’s education is important, but the number one priority at 30 – even if you have a family – should be retirement. Think long-term. If you don’t set aside enough money for your own retirement, your children may have to help you in the future, which could end up being more expensive in the long run than student loans would be.
Make sure you save fast for a decent retirement before you start saving for college. Once you get that rhythm, you have enough extra funds and you can and should save for college.
3. Neglecting insurance
Insurance in general – health, life, home and disability – is often given lowest priority for two main reasons: “It’s not a fun thing to talk about, so it’s often delayed off longer than it should be. “People often don’t have good insurance advice. They are often advised to just get coverage – no matter what kind, just get some – but years later, when they get close to 50 or 60 and something happens, they find they don’t have the right coverage.
It is advisable to spend time studying insurance plans or talking to a trusted advisor.
4. Not buying long-term disability insurance
One type of insurance that is neglected more often than the rest is long-term disability coverage, but not having it can be extremely risky. Disability insurance is designed to provide income in the event of a disability that prevents you from working, which is more likely to happen than many people think. It is estimated, according to the Social Security Administration, that more than 25% of those who are now 20 years old will suffer some form of disability before retirement.
Many people will buy life insurance that covers in the event of death. But they don’t think about the possible disability – especially if it’s not covered by your company – and that’s a bigger risk. You’re not dead, but you can’t work and you can’t do anything to avoid bankruptcy.
5. Not talking about money before you get married
It’s no fun or simple conversation topic, but talking about your personal finances, spending habits and financial plan with your partner is crucial. Couples often have this conversation too late, if at all. When they finally sit down to discuss it, there is already a great deal of emotional involvement in the relationship, which causes many couples to play down important financial differences.
The conversation must take place and sooner the better. First, you need to understand your partner’s financial background, which will help you understand how he or she makes financial decisions. You can then decide whether to keep your finances separate, if you both work; or whether to combine them, and then you should agree on how to spend together.
6. Spending too much on a wedding
Too many people are spending an absurd amount of money on organizing a disproportionate wedding. Today, an average wedding in the United States costs a staggering $35,329 (30,000 euros).
It is recommended to plan a modest wedding, and use the remaining money as an advance on a house. Organizing a big wedding for less than $5,000 is possible if you are careful with your budget.
However, it’s a very personal decision: whether organizing a big wedding is important to you, all right. You just have to start saving soon.
7. Spending too much on the first child
When the first child is born, new parents tend to overspend on high-end cribs, bottles, clothes and baby accessories. The spending problems we usually see in 20-year-old’s are moderated until the children are born and then they explode.
You should raise your child in a comfortable environment, but think twice before spending thousands of dollars on a branded cart that leaves you without savings, when other unexpected expenses are likely to arrive.
8. Spending too much on cars
Another area in which experts see a serious financial error is overspending on cars. People get bored of cars fast. They always want a new car and have to pay for it. But car is a rapidly losing value asset. You don’t want to invest money in something that won’t be worth anything after a few years.
So it is recommended to keep the cars for at least 10 years. After you buy a new one, make sure you finish paying for it in five years, so you can spend that money on other savings for the next five years. After 10 years, if you go to the dealer again and if you have taken care of your old car, you can get a good price for it, which will help you pay for the next one.
Another option is to use leasing. You can decide if it is a good option for you or not. Also, consider giving up a new car and buying a second-hand one, which could save you an significant amount.
9. Taking a master’s degree for wrong reasons
A master’s degree is usually quite expensive, so make sure you go back to school for the right reasons, especially if you’re paying for it out of your own pocket.
It should certainly help you progress in your career. Let’s take an example of MBA. If you don’t know what your goal is after getting the MBA, you’re not doing the right thing, considering the fact that cost of MBA is very high. If getting the MBA helps you get a position that enhances your long-term career, then it’s the perfect solution.
It is also recommended that you earn while you learn. Do not stop working while you study, if possible.
10. Taking a job with short-term money in mind
When you’re in your mid-thirties, you’re preparing to enter your higher income years, and it’s important to prepare for this stage of your life.
At this point, you shouldn’t take jobs with short-term money in mind. You must choose a job that prepares you for much more money in the long run.
11. Optimistic of having more money in the future
While optimism is a good and must to have quality, too much optimism can be dangerous, especially when it comes to money.
People tend to assume that they will make a lot more money when they reach 40. This is one of the most serious and common mistakes in each person’s personal finances.
The basic rule should be to live below your means. If you can’t afford to buy a new car, then buy a second-hand car with guarantee. Saving first’ should be your motto: save for retirement first and spend with the remaining money. People tend to do just the opposite thinking, I have to buy this, this and this, and what’s left, I’ll save it. Pay for your future first, and make sure your present is secure.