Many individuals reach significantly higher levels of earning — and spending — in their 30s. Many of them have moved up in their careers, branched out across sectors, started investing, gotten married or started a family, to name a few. All of these events can also drain savings significantly, not to mention cut into retirement plans.
With so much capital moving around, it is important to set goals and guidelines for how and when money is spent. To give you a better understanding of how 30-somethings can stay on track for general savings and retirement, 14 entrepreneurs from Forbes Finance Council share their top advice for those needing to find a balance between spending and saving in their 30s.
Members discuss balancing increased earning with increased saving.All photos courtesy of Forbes Councils members.
1. Pay Yourself First
There will always be things that pull at your household’s purse strings, whether it be buying a house, helping aging parents or saving for your children’s college funds. But there are no scholarships for retirement. You have to save right now for the future life you want to live. You don’t get a do-over. For those who need more accountability, your financial advisor can help keep you on track. — Jeff Motske CFP®, Trilogy Financial
2. Start Early And Pace Yourself
When it comes to savings and retirement, start early and always pace yourself. Many people who start to make more generally spend more. This includes big life events, like weddings, honeymoons, homes, children, etc. It’s important to stick to saving a definitive percentage of your income so that, as you make more, you save more. Also strive to max out any retirement accounts on a regular basis. — Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.
3. Create A Budget
Create a continuous six-month budget plan for your pay and stick to it. Start with ensuring you budget 15% of your paycheck toward savings until you have a good three-month emergency fund. Next, keep budgeting the 15%, but start investing it into a 401(k) or a Roth IRA account. This approach will have you taking advantage of compound interest and keep you on track for a fruitful retirement. — Geanette Rodriguez-Ojeda, ARRI Rental
4. Make More To Save More
There’s nothing wrong with rewarding yourself for your hard work when you start earning a good salary, but don’t neglect your savings and retirement strategy for new, shiny material goods. If you have a 401(k), max out your withholdings from your paycheck so you get the most from your employer match. Also, set up a savings account to regularly auto-transfer a set amount from your checking account. — Jeff Pitta, Senior Market Advisors
5. Don’t Spend Until You Earn
We’re part of a generation where 30-somethings can make high levels of income. Many young people enter the job market and create a lifestyle based on the attitude that they’ll earn tons of money. Create realistic expectations for yourself about what’s sustainable. Don’t spend until you earn. Keep only what you could maintain if you lost your job tomorrow: your mortgage, your car and anything vital. — Sal Rehmetullah, Fattmerchant
6. Live Within Your Means
Always live within your means by budgeting responsibly. Do not rely heavily on credit cards. Crucially, seek counsel from trusted financial advisors to solidify your goals and keep an eye on your progress. Set aside a budget and allocate a percentage of your paycheck toward entertainment and retirement. Consult with your advisor to ensure that you’re staying on top of your retirement goals. — Ben Jen, Ben Jen Holdings SLLC
7. Thoroughly Evaluate Your Finances
Recent research from my company found that 71% of women and 56% of men do not know their net worth. In your 30s, it’s crucial that you understand your full financial picture so that you can develop a plan to reach your goals. Use free online tools and technology to establish a 360-view of your finances, which will help you make informed and strategic decisions when it comes to your money. — Jay Shah, Personal Capital
8. Get A Handle On Where The Cash Goes
There is an old adage that says, “Act Your Wage.” Regardless of how much money you make, I’m sure you really don’t know where your money is going. There are many financial calculators on the internet. Find one and determine how much you need to save each month to reach your financial goals. Then, if you can’t find the money to save, look at your spending to see what you can cut out. Pay yourself first. — Scott Bishop, STA Wealth Management
9. Avoid Shiny Object Syndrome
Often, we begin our first years of decent living income in our 30s. It’s easy to let your retirement contributions slide because there are now so many shiny objects within reach financially. Be sure to stay the course with your investing. These are your prime years to be investing cash that will have another 30 years of compounding to grow into the retirement assets you’ll need down the road. — Danielle Kunkle Roberts, Boomer Benefits
10. Make Money While You Sleep
My top tip is to make a small but regular deposit into a savings investment that will compound. This will allow your money to grow and work for you while you sleep; every paycheck/month you should deposit no less than your agreed set amount into this investment and watch the returns multiply over time. Compounding is key. — Khurram Chohan, Virtual CFO Group
11. Take Your Full Tax Advantage
Whether you’re a small business owner or an employee of a big corporation with a matching 401(k) plan, there are multiple ways of ensuring that you hang onto more of your hard-earned cash — even if that means it’s more or less off limits until you retire. Traditional IRAs, 401(k)s and Roth IRAs are just three of them. Consult your tax professional and maximize your tax advantage each year. — Ismael Wrixen, FE International
12. Have A Holistic Financial Plan
It’s important to have a holistic plan for your overall finances: wealth and income protection as well as long-term retirement plans. For any plan, think with the end in mind. Where do you want to be at age 50 or 60? What do you have to do to get there? Make sure you adjust your plan accordingly as unavoidable setbacks happen. Set your spending and savings each year based on your progress. — Mike McGlothlin, ashbrokerage.com
13. Find A Financial Accountability Partner
Obtaining the knowledge on how to reach your goals is as easy as a Google search. However, acting on that knowledge requires a more intense and focused approach. Find a financial accountability partner: someone to keep you reaching toward your goals. Michael Phelps did not win his 23 Olympic gold medals alone. He found a coach who kept him accountable to working hard and staying on track. — Justin Goodbread, Heritage Investors
14. Habitually Take A Bit Of Every Paycheck
Take a set amount from your paycheck every paycheck. Make it a habit and a necessity like monthly bills. Whether you open your own IRA or contribute to a company-offered 401(k), adding money each paycheck will help your account grow. As you earn raises, increase your contributions, even by a few dollars. This should help build a decent retirement. — Greg Herlean, Horizon Trust
Originally published at www.forbes.com on December 28, 2018.