While you may have established your career once you reach your 30s, it’s still not that easy to build wealth.
Suddenly, you’ve often got a host of other financial priorities like paying down debt, saving for your first home, paying for childcare.
But making sure your money is working for you while you’re working matters, especially if one of your big-picture financial goals involves building wealth over the long term (and it should). Saving money is a good start but more importantly, your 30s are a prime time to develop a consistent investing habit.
Your 30s are a great opportunity to learn new money skills and establish better money habits. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be one step closer to reaching your retirement goals.
What Does Wealth Mean to You?
One way to motivate yourself to build wealth in your 30s is by thinking about the opportunities that it can create. Retiring early or being able to enjoy bucket-list vacations with your family, for example, are the kinds of things you’ll need to build up wealth to enjoy.
Beyond that, building wealth means that you don’t have to stress about covering unexpected expenses or how you’ll make the bills if you’re unable to work for a period of time.
Investing in your 30s, even if you have to start small, can help create financial security. The more thought you give to how you manage your money in your 30s, the better when it comes to improving your financial health.
So if you haven’t selected a target savings number for retirement yet, run the numbers through a retirement calculator to get a ballpark figure. Then you can formulate a plan for reaching that goal.
Recommended: How to Build Wealth at Any Age
6 Tips to Building Wealth in Your 30s
Curious about how to build wealth in your 30s? These tips can help you figure out how to save money in your 30s, even if you’re starting from zero.
1. Set up a Rainy Day Fund
One of the biggest lessons you’ll learn in your 30s is that life doesn’t always go as planned. It’s important to have a nice cushion of cash to land on, should any bad news come your way: a job loss, a medical emergency, a car repair.
Not having the money for these unexpected expenses can threaten your financial security. To prevent such shocks, sock away at least three-to-six months’ worth of savings that can cover your everyday living expenses, from rent on down.
2. Pump Up Your 401(k)
If your company offers a 401(k) plan, consider it an opportunity for investing in your 30s while potentially reducing your current taxes. This is especially true if your employer offers a match (though matching is typically only offered if you contribute a certain amount). The match is essentially free money, so you should take full advantage of it, if possible.
Aim to increase your contributions on a regular basis. This could be once a year or twice a year, and especially whenever you get a bonus or a raise. Some plans allow you to do this automatically at certain pre-decided intervals. Simply clicking a button will save you the agony of reconsidering changing your mind.
3. Consider Other Retirement Funds
If you don’t have access to a 401(k), there are other options that can help fund your future and help you with building wealth in your 30s.
Even if you contribute to a 401(k), you may benefit from these additional options. For example, if you’re already maxing out your 401(k), you might continue saving for retirement with an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).
Recommended: IRA vs. 401(k): What’s the Difference?
Depending on your income, you may qualify to contribute to a Roth IRA, which lets you contribute post-tax income (that means you can’t write it off) up to a certain amount each year. You can withdraw IRA and 401(k) funds starting at 59 ½.
Recommended: Explaining 401(k) Early Withdrawal Penalties
In addition to tax-advantaged accounts, you might consider opening a taxable investment account to make the most of money in your 30s.With taxable accounts, you don’t get the same tax breaks that you would with a 401(k) or IRA. But you’re not restricted by annual contribution limits or restrictions around withdrawals, so you can continue growing wealth in your 30s at your own pace as your income allows.
4. Open a Health Savings Account (HSA)
If you have access to a Health Savings Account this could be a valuable resource for building wealth in your 30s. For those who qualify, this is a personal savings account where you can sock away tax-advantaged money to pay for out-of-pocket medical costs. These could include doctor’s office visits, buying glasses, dental care, and prescriptions.
The money you save is pre-tax, and it grows tax-free. Also, you don’t have to pay taxes on any money you withdraw from your HSA , as long as it’s for a qualified medical expense.
You’ll need to be enrolled in a high deductible health plan to be eligible for an HSA. If your company offers health insurance, talk to your plan administrator or benefits coordinator to find out whether an HSA is an option.
5. Give Yourself Goals
One of the best ways to build wealth in your 30s involves setting clear financial goals. For example, you might use the S.M.A.R.T. method to create money goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, timely and realistic.
Then, start working toward those goals, whether it’s sticking to a budget or paying down your credit card or auto loan. Once you experience the satisfaction of meeting these goals, you’ll be able to think bigger or longer term for your next goal.
6. Check Your Risk Level
Investing is about understanding risk, knowing how much risk you’re prepared to take, and choosing the types of investments that are right for you.
If you’re working out how to build wealth in your 30s, consider two things: Risk tolerance and risk capacity. Your risk tolerance reflects the amount of risk you’re comfortable taking. Risk capacity, meanwhile, is a measure of how much risk you need to take to meet your investment goals.
As a general rule of thumb, the younger you are the more risk you can take on. That’s because you have more time until retirement to smooth out market highs and lows. Investing consistently through the ups and downs using dollar-cost averaging can help you generate steady returns over time.
If you’re not sure what level of risk you’re comfortable with, taking a free risk assessment or investing risk questionnaire can help. This can give you a starting point for determining which type of asset allocation will work best for your needs, based on your age and appetite for risk.
Investing in your 30s to build wealth can seem intimidating but there are tools that can help. SoFi Invest® is an online investment account that can help you start navigating how to build wealth in your 30s.
Whether you’re into automated investing or taking a more active investing approach, SoFi members get one-on-one access to financial advisors to answer questions. Our team of credentialed financial planners is here to work with you (over the phone or online, at your convenience), and develop a plan that best suits you. And your goals can change as you and your life change—we’ll be there for that too.
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