You may be on a solid career path in your 30s, but building wealth isn’t always easy. Although you probably have more income coming in, there are also expenses you didn’t have a few years ago, such as saving for the down payment on a home, focusing time and resources on a business, or starting a family.
While there are obstacles to overcome, your 30s are actually the perfect time to begin saving and investing for the long term. To help you stay on track, we’ve put together this list of 8 proven ways to build wealth in your 30s.
- While you may have more income in your 30s, there are also more expenses.
- Your 30s are the ideal time to build wealth because, generally, you’re entering your prime earning years.
- Proven ways to build wealth in your 30s include investing in yourself, forming a mastermind group, and avoiding speculative investments.
How much net worth should a 30-something have?
As you transition from your 20s to your 30s, you’ll likely have more income but also more expenses. Focusing on your net worth while you’re still young will make it much easier to fund your future financial goals.
Many experts suggest that your net worth in your 30s should be equal to about 50% of your gross annual income. So, if your total income is $100K per year, you should have about $50K stashed away in savings and investments so that you’ll have enough money saved up for retirement.
If you’re not quite there yet, there’s no need to worry. Even a small amount of money saved each month may yield significant returns. According to Bank of America, investing $100 a month at age 35 could add up to over $150K in savings by age 65, assuming an 8% rate of return.
8 proven ways to build wealth in your 30s
The word “wealth” means different things to different people. One person may have their sights set on becoming a self-made real estate mogul, while someone else may be perfectly happy with a stable, steady income after they retire.
Here are 8 proven ways to build wealth in your 30s, no matter your personal goals.
1. Reexamine your goals
It’s more than likely your goals have changed between your 20s and 30s. Many people think about buying a home, starting a family, or starting a business. Turning 30 is the ideal time to reexamine and fine-tune your financial and personal goals to make sure they’re specific and relevant to your life.
If you’re part of a couple, make sure that your partner is on board with your financial plans. While you and your partner may be completely compatible in many ways, sometimes you’ll find yourself moving in opposite directions.
Consider using the SMART system when creating a plan and setting goals to stay on the same page: Each goal should be specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timely.
2. Update your budget
Having a budget helps you track your income and expenses, both of which have probably changed since you were in your 20s. You may have a nicer, bigger place, more furniture and clothing, multiple vehicles, and more.
Even though your lifestyle is different, with enough persistence and focus, you’ve hopefully been able to make a significant dent in credit card or student loan debt. Take another look at your budget to see if you can redirect some extra income toward more savings and investing. Also beware of too much lifestyle creep—upgrading your lifestyle every time you start making more money—rather than using that money to pay down debt or invest.
3. Continue to reduce debt
Focus on getting rid of high-interest debt like credit card debt. Stick with your budgeted repayment plans, and avoid increasing your credit card spending. Paying off one card while increasing the balance on another isn’t a wealth-building strategy.
One good technique for building your wealth is to live beneath your means. Your goal in your 30s is to get out of debt as quickly as possible. An excellent way to do that is to reduce your cost of living and use the extra cash to accelerate debt reduction.
For example, instead of vacationing out of the country, consider weekend trips to nearby places that are less expensive. Instead of leasing a car or buying a new one every few years, make a bet with your mechanic to see how many miles you can rack up on the odometer.
4. Maintain an emergency fund
Continue to add money to your emergency fund, or set one up if you haven’t already. Life is unpredictable, and the last thing you want to do is go into debt to pay for unexpected expenses, such as medical bills, car repairs, or living expenses in the event of a job loss. Building an emergency fund is key to your financial health.
As a rule of thumb, financial planning experts suggest having between 3 and 6 months of income set aside in an emergency fund so that money is there when and if you need it.
5. Focus on retirement planning
According to the Pew Research Center, over half of adults 55 or older have retired. When you’re in your 30s, you’re only a couple of decades away from joining the club, so it’s time to take your financial security during retirement seriously.
If your employer offers a retirement match, try to add enough money each year to your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored plan to maximize it. Having your employer pay for part of your retirement is like finding free money and more, thanks to the tax-advantaged savings.
If your employer doesn’t offer a retirement plan—or even if they do—you can open an individual retirement account (IRA) or Roth IRA to supercharge your retirement savings.
While many people think of retirement planning as savings, others compare retirement planning to investing. If you’ve got a sizable amount of savings, consider converting a retirement plan into a self-directed individual retirement account (SDIRA). An SDIRA is a type of retirement account that allows you to invest in alternative investments, such as single-family rental (SFR) homes, and any net income generated is still tax free until you begin to make withdrawals in retirement.
6. Avoid speculative investments
Taking some calculated investment risk in your 30s is usually all right because there’s time to recover before retirement. However, avoid going “all in” on speculative investments that overpromise and underdeliver. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to focus on basic investments and strategies rather than those considered high-risk.
One way to reduce investment risk is with dollar-cost averaging, making investments at regular intervals, regardless of what direction the market is moving in. This investment strategy can help you avoid the urge to time the market, a move that is best left to professionals on Wall Street.
Another good way to invest smarter is by putting some money into real estate. You can buy shares of a publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT) to gain exposure to a wide range of different types of real estate, put some money into a crowdfunding opportunity, or explore the Roofstock Marketplace to directly own an SFR in one of over 70 cities across the country.
7. Keep investing in yourself
While we’re on the subject of investing, don’t forget to keep investing in yourself, which is the best investment you can make. You could earn a specialized designation to keep climbing the career ladder, create a side gig to generate multiple income streams, or get your real estate license to make extra money on the weekends.
One of the biggest benefits of having more than one source of income is that you’ll take pressure off yourself and save money to reinvest in other income-generating opportunities. As Robert Kiyosaki, author of “Rich Dad Poor Dad,” once said, “The key to financial freedom and great wealth is a person’s ability or skill to convert earned income into portfolio income,” or income that isn’t tied to time.
8. Create a mastermind group
A mastermind group is a mentoring group of like-minded people that motivate and advise each other.
You’re likely not the only person in your 30s who is focused on building wealth, so finding an in-person or online mastermind group could be easy. Groups often meet regularly to work on common challenges, come up with solutions, exchange financial advice, and share personal and business connections.
In addition to a mastermind group, consider looking for a mentor. A good mentor is someone who has been where you are and is now where you want to be. As this article from the Harvard Business Review observes, having a good mentor can make a huge imprint on your life.
Spending less than you earn and investing the difference are essential money habits to develop and something investors in every age group can do. It’s especially important in your 30s. You’re in your prime income-earning years, and it’s the ideal time to build wealth by increasing your savings and investments and creating multiple income streams. While your expenses and obligations may have increased, focusing on your goals will pay off in the long run.