Where to be Financially by Age 30

Making the right financial decisions at an early age can set you up for financial success in the future.  Here are some targets to hit by age 30.

Financial Goals by Age 30 #1 – Appreciating Assets

Free Money Finance says that the median net worth of a person 20 to 29 years of age is just $6,400. This shockingly low number shows that 20-somethings spend way too much of their money on things that depreciate in value and not enough on appreciating assets. If you want to have a sizeable sum of money by the time you are 30, then you need to invest in assets that will most likely increase in value with time.  You may want to spend more time investing in assets like stocks or real estate and less time worrying about the next car you would like to own.

Financial Goals by Age 30 #2 – Contribute More for Retirement

The average balance in a 401k plan is $71,500 according to Fidelity. This includes all individuals both young and old. It is estimated that the bulk of money saved in retirement plans is by individuals that are age 50 and older. $71,500 may seem like a lot of money, but it really isn’t if you are close to retirement. If you want to avoid having a small amount of money to retire on, then you need to max out your retirement plan contributions every single year. This way you will be on the track to avoid poverty in retirement.

Financial Goals by Age 30 #3 – Get out of Debt

The average young person has a massive debt load by the time that they enter their 30’s. Most young adults are saddled with student loan debt and credit card debt. The average student loan debt is over $23,000 and credit card debt adds another $5,000 among the 25 to 34 year old crowd. This makes it hard for young professionals to make any progress on saving money. I’d highly suggest being more than halfway to debt freedom by age 30 if possible.

Financial Goals by Age 30 #4 – Increase your Salary

By the time you are 30 years of age, you want to be in a position where you are watching your income grow year after year. Going back to school, gaining additional skills, or working more hours can all help you increase your earning’s power exponentially. As you make more money, remember to avoid significant lifestyle inflation so you can use the extra to hit the rest of your financial goals.

Where We Stand

I am 28 years old.  My husband and I invest a lot into assets that we hope will appreciate over time – mainly stocks and bonds.  We do still have about $60,000 of mortgage debt but are on track to being completely debt free by age 34.  We also sock away $10,000 into Roth IRA’s for retirement and contribute to my husband’s pension plan fund as well.  We are on target to have more than $2 million saved for retirement alone by age 52.  In regards to salary, my husband’s is pretty set as a school librarian and I have more than doubled my own by pursuing my online career.  In short – so far, so good.

What do you think of these targets by age 30?

Edwin C

Edwin is a marketer, social media influencer and head writer here at Money In The 20’s. He manages a large network of high quality finance blogs and social media accounts. You can connect with him via email here.

14 thoughts on “Where to be Financially by Age 30

  • August 11, 2011 at 1:58 pm
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    Let’s see. I’m 33 so I’m going to think back all those years to when I was 30. 🙂

    #1: I had owned my house for 3 years.
    #2: I did have an IRA but the balance wasn’t (isn’t) as big as it could be.
    #3: We had two car payments and a small HELOC from landscaping the back yard.
    #4: I quit my job at 29 to be a stay at home mom.

    I certainly could have done better but I think I was doing ok.

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  • August 11, 2011 at 2:34 pm
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    I think these are great targets, and it sounds like you are well on your way to hitting them all.

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  • August 15, 2011 at 11:51 am
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    I think these are valuable goals. However, by 30 many people have had “bumps” in the road:unexpected unemployment, houses underwater, “surprise” children, medical issues, etc.

    When these “events” happen, the goals is to keep on moving, even at a snail’s pace…because you are still moving!

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  • August 19, 2011 at 2:49 pm
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    I am 24 with no debt hoping to buy my home with %20 down and have it paid by 30. 😀 heres to budgets!

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  • August 23, 2011 at 6:12 pm
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    I’m 27 — I’ll be 28 in October — so, here we go:

    #1 – Appreciating Assets

    My boyfriend and I own a triplex (a house split into 3 units). Starting in October, we will live in one unit and rent out the other two. The rental income pays the mortgage, insurance, taxes, etc., so our only out-of-pocket living expense is repairs (which, at this time, are PLENTIFUL, since the house was neglected for years and is in bad condition). However, I’d count this as an appreciating asset since its a rental property which will have a positive cash flow once the repairs are done.

    #2 – Contribute More for Retirement

    You mention the average 401k plan balance is $71,500 — our 401k’s are low, but our Roth IRA’s are always maxed out ($10/year for 2 people). We intentionally keep the 401k low because our income is so low that we’d rather pay the taxes right now (Roth IRA).

    #3 – Get out of Debt

    Other than the mortgage, which is being paid by our tenants, we have $0 debt.

    #4 – Increase your Salary

    This is what we need to do!!!!! Crystal, I’m looking to you for guidance as to how to make more money as an online writer!! 🙂

    Reply
  • September 16, 2011 at 7:05 am
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    I’ll play 🙂 I haven’t been reading blogs for a while since I’ve been busy, but this one seemed interesting.

    I’m 28 – turning 29 by the end of the year.

    #1 – Appreciating Assets

    We have a house and 2 401Ks. I’m not that much into too many material things.

    #2 – Contribute More for Retirement

    Our retirement currently has over $250K combined. We contribute the max (16500 per person per year), but it is in the aggressive portfolio right now so I hate checking it! We don’t qualify for Roths for our income, and in fact we tend to have to pay AMT due to our large charitable contributions.

    #3 – Get out of Debt

    We have no debt other than the mortgage. We have about $230K left on it which we plan to pay off within 5 years.

    #4 – Increase your Salary

    We are both making 6 figure salaries at this point. Because we have 2 kids with one more on the way (all 3 and under), we decided to forgo large salary bumps for time with the kids and family. If I did decide to become a workaholic and never see my kids, I have been offered unstable jobs of 3 times my current salary.

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    • September 16, 2011 at 11:39 am
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      Wow you guys are doing awesome! What do you do?

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      • September 16, 2011 at 11:45 am
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        @Jesse – We are both engineers with several years of extensive experience since we have been working since before we graduated from college. My husband has been asked to teach at Johns Hopkins before. We both have our MS’s.

        We have 2 children with a surprise on the way, but I’m glad it happened now when our careers are more set and we are comfortable.

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        • September 16, 2011 at 11:47 am
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          That’s great, and congrats on #3, we just had our third this year. I bet your conversations between each other would be interesting to observe, do you both engineer in the same field?

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          • September 16, 2011 at 11:52 am
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            Thanks! We do not engineer in the same field as my husband is hardware and I am software, but it is great to use our combined forces to do something such as… fixing our oven, lol. I narrow down what could be wrong, he finds out what it is, I order the parts, and he installs while I help read out the wiring diagram.

            Our poor kids have no chance with 2 extremely right-brained parents.

            What you should want to listen in on is when my dad and my husband start “talking shop.” My dad is an aerospace engineer, and my husband is an electrical engineer. They both love it!

          • September 16, 2011 at 12:00 pm
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            Haha, that’s nuts. I bet your kids are going to be geniuses!

            I personally love listening to anyone talk who is passionate about their career no matter what it is, it’s so stimulating.

  • October 2, 2011 at 5:03 pm
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    Ooh, this looks like fun. Hmm, converting everything from £ -> $ here…I’m 27 and these goals aren’t too far away from my own.

    #1 I have $25,000 in investments and $45,000 equity in my home.

    #2 I don’t have a pension as I believe the disadvantages outweight the benefits for my particular situation. We don’t have IRAs or 401Ks in the UK. The closest thing we have are SIPPs and ISAs. Almost all of my stock is held in an ISA – an account that has deposit limits but does not incur capital gains or dividend taxes.

    #3 The only debt I have is my mortgage and my student loan, but my overall net worth is about $54,000

    #4 I Increased my salary from $27,000 to $51,000 in 3 years and currently make about $11,000 extra in various side quests.

    Wow, I’m in a good mood now. Thanks for that Crystal. Good luck with your goals everyone!

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    • October 3, 2011 at 9:43 pm
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      Thanks for sharing Ash!

      Reply
  • February 17, 2012 at 8:56 am
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    At 29, with 30 knocking on the door, I can appreciate this article. Thankfully, after a year of hard core paying down student loans debt (about 30k from undergrad and grad school), I’m debt free. I’m still working on getting all my retirement stuff in order, but am also in the process of buying my first home, so I’m probably going to hold off on the retirement savings until I figure out what my monthly payments on the house, taxes, condo fees etc. will look like.

    I’m also working on #4. As Dave Ramsey says, “your salary is your main wealth building tool”. I’m hoping that a change in into another sector of my current field (social services) and another license I’m eligible to sit for next January will bring me a decent sized raise.

    Reply

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