I started reading the Art of Non-Conformity the other day and the idea of the life list/bucket list got me thinking again. I started thinking about my bucket list for what I want to accomplish before I turn 30 (in 7 years). Then I started to get more specific. I started thinking about what I want to accomplish financially before 30. Then I realized that my mind was all over the place.
Since every financial bucket list is unique to your own situation, I decided to outline 30 financial moves that might be of interest to your unique financial situation before you turn 30. The following are 30 financial moves that all 20-somethings should consider. The list is completely random and has something for everyone.
1. Build a strong emergency fund.
Keep a buffer in a savings account because you never know when a rainy day will hit you out of nowhere.
2. Pay off bad debt.
You can debate good debt vs bad debt, but at the end of the day you should try to kill off your credit card debt before you turn 30.
3. Contribute to a Roth and Traditional IRA/RRSP.
The sooner you start planning for your retirement, the sooner you have compound interest working on your side.
4. Make a major investment mistake.
You may not try to do this deliberately but it’s bound to happen. We all make mistakes surrounding an investment in our 20s.
5. Learn from your major investment mistake.
When you make a major mistake with your money, learn from it. Understand where you went wrong and move on. Don’t feel sorry for yourself or dwell on it.
6. Pay off all debt.
Never mind comparing your student loans to your mortgage, try to become debt-free totally.
7. Create long-term career goals.
By 30 you might want to be in a situation where your income is stable and you know where your career is going. You should also have an idea of where you see yourself in the next few years.
8. Get a promotion.
If you get a job in a reputable company, strive to work your way up the ladder. Remember to always over-deliver and smile.
9. Quit your job.
On the other hand, if you hate your job, try to save up enough money or to create a backup plan so that you can quit your job. This alone might be the best decision of your 20s.
10. Start a side business.
There’s no better time than your 20s to start your own side business. With time on your side there’s no stopping you from where you can take your business.
11. Invest in your side business.
If your business isn’t growing then invest into it. Hire someone, outsource some work, or pay to improve your skills. Don’t just give up.
12. Chase bank rates.
Chasing bank rates is usually a poor idea but you need to try it out for yourself to see.
13. Switch to online banking.
If you’re tired of annoying bank fees you need to switch to online banking. You will save money on fees and receive competitive rates on savings accounts.
14. Pay back your parents.
If your parents helped you get started in life, don’t forget this. Do your best to pay them back or to compensate them somehow. My favorite technique here is to send them on vacation every year.
15. Donate to charity.
Once your income grows, you can start giving back to the community and to those in need.
16. Help out a friend in need.
There will be times where you struggle. There will also be times where you prosper. Don’t forget about your friends. Try to help them out even if they have too much pride to accept your help.
17. Take a career risk.
Take a chance with your career before you have a mortgage or family holding you back. What do you have to lose?
18. Try negotiating.
Don’t be afraid to open your mouth. Try to negotiate a better price or a better deal. You’ll see how excited you feel after you get the better end of the negotiation.
19. Start using sub-savings accounts.
Learn how to use sub-savings accounts and watch as they help you save up for your many different financial goals.
20. Take advantage of your health benefits plan.
If you have health coverage from your employer, take advantage of this plan. If a massage is owed to you then go for a massage.
21. Set a retirement target date.
As you become better at managing your money, you should set a retirement target date to see where you are financially and what you need to improve.
22. Start a 529 College Savings Plan/RESP.
If your parents helped you get through college you know how important this is. If your parents never helped you than you should be even more motivated to help your future children out.
23. Track your credit.
Don’t wait until you apply for a mortgage to look into your credit score. Start monitoring your credit now to see where you stand.
24. Travel the world.
While you’re single and have no major expenses, you should try to see as much of the world as possible. The longer you put this off the less likely it is to happen.
25. Save up for your wedding.
It doesn’t matter how much you love the bachelor lifestyle. Chances are that you’ll get married one day. Be prepared so that your future wife doesn’t marry a bum.
26. Spend your money frivolously once.
If you work hard and consciously save your money, you deserve to splurge once in a while. Go ahead and try it.
27. Create a will.
It’s never too early to start planning for what will happen when you leave this world.
28. Try a random part-time job.
If you’re bored on the weekends you can try out a few part-time jobs to kill some time, make some money, and meet new people.
29. Sell your crap.
Get rid of all of that crap in your place before you find yourself living with someone else (spouse or kids).
30. Live like a scrooge for a bit.
Sucking it up and hustling/saving for a few months can do wonders for you bank account. Try it out for a little bit. Just don’t get carried away.
Which of these have you tried? Which are you working on? If I missed anything then please share it!
Check out Mike’s post on Financial Planning Goals While Turning 30.
(photo credit: haydnseek)
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