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How many of you actually thought about retirement in your 20s or made it a point to put aside a certain percentage of dollars of that paycheck to some sort of savings account?
The answer: not many, if any in fact looked at that particular time in their life from a budgeting, money, financial and job perspective and made it a point think about resting comfortably on the beach at 65 or having to take a job after you “retire” because financially you just weren’t ready to say so long to consistent work.
Perhaps the time when all the importance of money and saving it truly sinks in is when you reach your 30s, a time period where you might be settling down, getting married, having a family and anything else that starts to pertain to the future.
So what exactly should you be doing to save money in your 30s?
Aside from thinking about investing your money into a retirement fund at the office or thorough work (or even doing one on your own if that isn’t available), you have to start mind your money more so than you did 10 years ago.
A huge misstep for any would be financial wizard and especially for those in their 30s is not having a means to budget how you’re spending or saving, and if the two are working in harmony with one another.
Most money savers who have wonderfully positive intentions simply can’t manage to put aside more than a few dollars literally, but only because they aren’t sure what they’re spending money on and how to save beyond trying haphazardly.
Writing down expenses, income and matching the two up in a simple spreadsheet is saving money gold for 30 years olds who have never really thought about doing anything more with extra money than hanging out and dropping some cash with their buddies.
And as long as you’re putting together a budget, you might want to consider going without for a while when it comes to luxuries you enjoyed in your 20s but can live without going forward. Maybe that entertainment aspect and allowance in your budget gets smaller and instead the extra income goes toward some sort of 401K or IRA that you’ve opted to create to better serve you down the road.
Just because you turn 30 doesn’t mean that you suddenly have to stop having fun and immediately assume that your 60s is right down the road. What it does translate into is having the wherewithal and understanding that this is the best time to get ahead of the curve and put money as the priority it finally needs to be.
When you really think about your finances and how good or bad you are at anything from budgeting to saving money, how do you measure your success?
Some argue that your debt to income ratio is king, while others say assets and equity rule the world. That savings account or 401K balances aside, the true benchmark still remains the three digits that will haunt you if you haven’t taken care of them all this time.
Your credit score.
Yes, the credit score is the culmination of two trajectories the average consumer takes: you either have taken good care of that number and it is flourishing to the point that one glance at it and lenders are having no issues or qualms about lending you money or assuming that when they do, they’ll get paid back and then some.
The flip side to that is a pathetic, paltry credit score that is flirting with near disaster to the point that it is so low, creditors even offering ridiculous interest rates want absolutely nothing to do with you.
How you go there probably won’t do you much good at the moment. What is more telling is how to fix it and get that score out of the frying fan and much more favorable to who matters most beyond just you: lenders and others who can help you get the car, home or loan of your dreams or ultimately be the ones to turn you down in a heartbeat.
So fixing your credit score is paramount, but can it be done?
Yes, of course. But the trick is to follow simple steps to rebuild it, and the lenders will come. For instance, do you pay your bills on time? This is the easiest way to start getting yourself back on the right track. And if you can’t pay your bills, consult a consolidation company so that they’ll be able to get you into some sort of lateral move where you have one payment that might be a little more manageable than the mess you’re making at the moment.
As silly as it seems, a big reason credit score are so bad is that most don’t even know what is on them currently. If you haven’t checked your score, you should. And sign up with a company or online entity that monitors your score and lets you know if or when it changes for the good or bad. You also can have the chance to fix any errors or mistakes on your report because quite frankly they’re not always perfect.
And neither are you, but you don’t have to be to fix your score. You just need to get your head in the game with the basics.