January 13, 2011, 6:00 am

30 Financial Moves Before 30– Ideas Worth Trying

by: MD    Category: Miscellaneous
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Financial Bucket List

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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by: The Financial Blogger | January 13th, 2011 (9:12 am)

whoa! great post MD ;-D

I particularly like #4: make an investment mistake. This is a great advice! I did mine at the age of 26 and it was a great timing for me! It’s better making mistakes in your 20’s as it doesn’t hurt too much 😉

woooww i love the post!! I’m almost turning 30!! Here’s my top 5!

1. Contribute to my RRSP.

We’ve contributed and is saving up for my purchase of new home. We will use the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP).

2. Pay off all debt.

We are trying best to pay off all my debt. We don’t have a mortgage yet.

3. Pay back my parents.

My dream is to send my parents on vacation (ok not every year for now… hehehe might take a while).

4. Start using sub-savings accounts.

I will try to use that automatic saving plans.

5. Travel the world.

We’ve been traveling all around the world and will try to continue for all our life!

by: The Financial Blogger | January 13th, 2011 (9:24 am)

I’ve done 23 out of 30 points…. only 8 months left before I turn 30… doh! hahaha!

I hit 16 out of 30 and I have 10 months before I turn 30!

Very interesting article!, I am 30 years old and I come to realize that there is so much things I wish to accomplish and I wish I was as young as you are again! What would be great is that if I could print this article, a Printable version will be very helpful!

I think you just about covered it. I’ve done some and planning on doing some others and I’m only 20!

Weird. It’s like we’re all the same age. 🙂 I don’t have much time left myself either!

[…] 30 Financial Moves Before 30– Ideas Worth Trying @ The Financial […]

by: Future MoneyBags | January 14th, 2011 (6:31 am)

I have done 27/30.
No RESP (no kids)
have not made an investment mistake
I resist travelling the world as its so expensive, I save for later.

The other 27, I do on a regular basis, and have been for many years.
I am 24, and have plenty of years to do even more planning.

[…] Bread points out 3 ways a Master’s Degree can boost your career.The Financial Blogger lists 30 financial moves before 30.Ultimate Money Blog looks at how to budget for irregular expenses.Beating The Index tells us why […]

A good health insurance plan can’t be underestimated. If you have a good plan, it leads to peace of mind and the ability to focus on other things.

Great list! 22 out of 30.

But I would like to make a comment about climbing the ladder (#7 & 8). As last year I took a promotion to a level just a step below the executive level at my organization. My career goals were always to make it to the “C” suite, and for all intents was on my way.

However, after working in this position I’ve began to realize the toll an executive level of job will take on a new marriage and starting a family. So might I humbly suggest to those setting career goals to also set family goals too.

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by TheFinancialBlogger. TheFinancialBlogger said: 30 Financial Moves Before 30– Ideas Worth Trying http://bit.ly/ggaEen […]

MD, you’re becoming a regular!

I’m too afraid to quit my job before 30. Perhaps before 45!

Great post. Top 3 that apply to me and have tried:
1. Started up a RRSP the same year I started my first full time job out of school.
2. Repay my parents. Bringing me up, I can never repay that…however, spoiling them with trips every so often – I know they appreciate.
3. Create long term career goals.

I do want to try a side business and create a will. These are next on my todo list.

[…] at The Financial Blogger presents 30 Financial Moves Before You Turn 30, saying “A list of financial moves all 20-somethings need to […]

About the parents:>) Since I am one…I don’t really expect my kids (25&28) to pay me back with trips. I love that we communicate regularly and we are a part of each others’ lives. Maybe, if something should happen to my husband in the later years, I would even more appreciate visits and letters (ok- emails).

We have traveled around the world. Spent time with amazing people. Lived in the best cities. Seen great performances. Own a place in the country. Nothing, nothing is more important to us than our children.We love our kids. We know they appreciate what we have done. They tell us. They mean it. They are contributing to the world and that is perfect!
I am betting most of your parents feel the same way.

Re: the save up for your wedding….Why blow through a massive savings on a one day event? If your bride or groom to be is serious about going the “long haul” with you, why not consider taking that same bundle of money and investing it?

[…] Financial Blogger wrote about 30 Financial Moves Before 30… most of which I’ve done (or will do). I thought it was really interesting, as some of […]

Great list! I need to create mine too- I’m turning 30 in about 2.5 years.

MD- you are a baby! I wish I had 7 years to go before turning 30.

Mike- Happy Birthday to you in 8 months! You have accomplished so much in your 30 years! Kids, house, business, only working 4 days a week. Awesome!! What are you doing to celebrate the “big day”?

[…] Financial Blogger shares a great list of 30 Financial Moves Before 30, and provides some Ways to Avoid a Real Job After […]

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[…] Financial Blogger recently ran a guest post from Studenomics listing 30 different financial moves you should make before you’re 30. I have roughly 11 more years before I reach that milestone, but let’s see how I’ve […]

[…] can be a lot of fun. It made the top 30 financial things to try before you hit 30 over at TFB. Looking for some more tips on negotiating? Check out some of the links […]

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Great post! I am 20 and have not done anything on this list, yet. My only current debt is to my parents and i love the idea of sending them on trips…when i can afford. i love to travel and am working toward at least one big trip a year (vegas this year for 21) i also am currently looking to start a side business, i wont give up on it. as for investments that is something im compelled to do i just know close to nothing about, but the quicker i get involved the sooner ill learn!
defenatly got me thinking! thanks

I really enjoyed reading this. I’m currently working on yet another business idea, I’m putting any cash I make from it, straight back in. Debt wise, I owe a fortune to my parents and visa cards/mortgage. Moneys tight right now and I’ve no savings, but there’s always light at the end of the tunnel, right? (I sure hope so!)

Awesome list … I agree with most of them… turning 30 in 4.5 yrs.

Haha, I am 19 and I already hit 27 out of 30, I guess I am on the right path to retirement.

These aren’t bad ideas. The best things happened when I quit my job when I turned 26! Now, I’ll just hit the other points on the list..

This is a great list. I’ve done many of these (I’m 28) and others aren’t going to happen before I turn 30 (my student loans and my mortgage are going to be around for a while, especially because I’m going back to school).

But it’s good to be thinking about these things, and it’s nice that someone has summed them up so well.


I love the idea of financial bucket lists. Although I’d have to Peter Pan the idea to get back to 30, I think I’ll use this same approach for 50.

Darn it! I’m 33! Got 10 more so we can make it 40 by 40? 🙂

[…] The Financial Blogger has some tips for 20-somethings: 30 Financial Moves Before 30– Ideas Worth Trying […]

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by: Ed Butowsky | July 1st, 2012 (10:19 pm)


Great article, lots of good pointers for people. One thing I would add is tracking the real cost of living. The government gravely underestimates the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This government index does not accurately reflect the cost of living increase most Americans experience annually.

I created the chapwood index to shed light on the CPI and how bad it really is, for all of us.


All good points, but the reality is, and what you’re actually getting at is the same as my own philosophy with life and money. Be debt free at all times unless the debt has a very high chance of returning more profit than the debt itself, live modestly and within our means, share, give, treat yourself every so often to the things we enjoy most in our lives, and put all our love into our children and family at all times. Thats my philosophy anyways…

[…] There are things that you should be doing with your money but just aren’t at the moment for one reason or another. It’s time to revisit my piece on 30 financial moves before 30. […]

I agree with most of these things

I’m 25 and I havent accomplished even 5 out of the 30

However I believe a few can hold off such as charity, better to save more now in order to give more later.

I also don’t believe in scrooging it up. Live life like it’s your last day…because who knows, it might very well be.

Also why even do something stupid enough to make a major investment mistake?

No intelligent person is going to throw 100k behind some no name business.