4 Ways to Enter Your 30s Financially Strong

Turning 30 is like the official marker of adulthood—an age of “should be’s” and “should have’s,” especially when it comes to money. But entering a new decade doesn’t have to be an anxious milestone if you commit to smart financial decision-making by your 30thbirthday. The following can help you enter your 30s financially confident.

Zero-Based Budgeting

This budgeting system gives your money purpose by allocating every single dollar of your income into a certain category. Every month you place a limit in each category for your expenses, like mortgage/rent, utilities, food, transportation, shopping, entertainment, etc. You give every dollar a job, until you’re left with zero.

Make Every Dollar Work for You: The EveryDollar app is a great tool to track your zero-based budget. There’s essentially no extra money to use freely and on a whim. Any leftover money from necessary expenses should be put toward a smart financial goal, like paying off debt, saving for a house or building a retirement fund. Once every dollar has a home, you can easily see what you planned, have spent and have remaining to stay on track.

Identity Theft Protection

Don’t let the “it’ll never happen to me” mentality hold you back from protecting your identity. You can become a victim through ATM scammers, malware/viruses, mail theft, dumpster diving (to find discarded personal information), an unauthorized change of address, social media and data breaches—in 2018, there were over 1,244 breaches and 446,515,334 records exposed, according to the Identity Theft Resources Center. If your information is comprised, the outcomes can be disastrous to recover from, costing you significant time and money.

Invest in Protection: Make LifeLock your partner in protecting your identity and monitoring your credit to reduce your risk of theft. If theft occurs and you’re a member, you’ll benefit from LifeLock’s ID restoration solution and ID theft protection package that covers legal fees and damages. Save up to 30 percent off your first year of service with this LifeLock promo code to start investing in prevention and mitigate your risk of identity theft.

Discovering Who You Want to Be Financially

Take a moment to assess your relationship with money. Are you strict and frugal without any room to enjoy life? Or do you YOLO your way through life with zero money management? To find the balance between these two extremes, develop personal financial values and determine if you are a spender, saver or an investor.

Start Journaling: Reflect on how you’ve been spending money in your 20s and where you want to be by 30. Here are prompts to help shape you into your best financial self:

  • If you had to choose ONE thing to spend fun money on, what would be it? (shopping, experience, eating/drinking out, travel, or a hobby, etc.)
  • Can you spend on what’s most meaningful to you and cut back on what’s not?
  • Do you have bad influences in your life?
  • What are some past mistakes? What needs to change?
  • How can you start to become who you want to be today and tomorrow?

After exploring answers to these questions, you can create values and an identity that helps you live, and plan, for your best life.

Your Credit Card is Your Friend—Not the Enemy

We all agree: Escalating credit card debt destroys your finances, from high interest rates to a credit score in the red. Credit cards aren’t bad though. It’s the card holder who controls whether or not a credit card puts you into debt, or rewards you with free travel and cash back. A credit card shouldn’t be a crutch; it should be a tool that works in your favor.

Befriend the Points Guy: Founded as a point-and-miles blog, The Points Guy is now an established online resource on credit cards, travel, points and miles. If you’re new to the game of using points or want to learn more, grab a latte and cozy up with some good reading material: TPG Beginner’s Guide Part 1: Everything You Need to Know About Points, Miles, Airlines and Credit Cards.

Are you insecure about your finances or feeling behind financially? The good news is that it’s never too late to start doing the right thing, no matter your age. But if turning 30 is on the horizon, protecting your personal information, budgeting, finding your financial identity and using credit cards to your advantage starting now can help set you up for a lifetime of financial success.

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