You’ve just reached that pivotal landmark, 30. For most people, your 20s were all about having fun and figuring out what you wanted to do with your life. Now it’s time to get serious –particularly with your finances. Here are 9 money habits worth picking up now so that you put yourself in a good place going forward.
Maximize your RRSPs
Believe it or not, you'll never have as much disposable income as you do in your 30s. Generally speaking, most people in their 30s have advanced in their careers to the point where they're making good money and have few costly expenses which come from things like kids, cars and mortgages. Capitalize on this time by maxing out your RRSP contributions each year because you might not have the extra cash later.
Invest in Real Estate
If you haven't already purchased a home, now is the time to do it. Sure, buying a house typically means taking on debt, like a mortgage, but you will also be making an investment and entering the real estate market which is much easier to do when you don't already have a bunch of financial commitments. Be strategic about your budget and only buy what you can comfortably afford so that you don't end up 'house poor'.
That said, try not to let yourself get overwhelmed with debt. Get in the habit of paying your bills and credit cards on time so you don't have to face expensive late payment charges. If you can't get yourself organized, find someone who can by looking into a financial planner or money manager before the debt starts to pile up.
Start an Education Fund
Whether you've started your family or you're just thinking about the idea of having kids, start an education fund. It may seem premature, but education costs are only getting higher and while you have the extra income you may as well start setting little bits aside.
No one likes to negotiate --particularly about money. It's time to get over the awkwardness and start fighting for yourself. Whether you're negotiating your salary, a mortgage or simply which credit card company to go with, make sure you shop around and never take the first offer.
Create an Emergency Fund
Investing in your RRSP is great but as cost of living continues to increase, some analysts have claimed that RRSPs alone may not be enough to get you through retirement. Start a secondary savings account while you're still young so that you have a little something extra when the time comes --just in case.
Open Up to your Partner
Whether you're married, have a long term partner or are just testing the market, it's good to get in the habit of talking about money. Though we don't suggest you interrogate people about their savings accounts or whether they've been making their maxiumum RRSP contributions, it's a good idea to be candid about things like debt and financial health so that there aren't any awkward surprises later.
Just because you're getting older doesn't mean you can't still spend your money on fun stuff. Start a stash of loose change or odd bills and watch it grow. Once you have enough, use it on something fun and frivilous like a night out at an expensive restaurant, those impractical shoes you've been eyeing or a trip somewhere hot with a sandy beach. Giving yourself these small rewards will make you less likely to spurlge on other things.
Whether you're thinking about your finances or just your life in general, it's always a good idea to set some goals. Start big with lofty longterm goals and then focus in on smaller things you would like to achieve more immediately --like paying off that outstanding student loan!