5 Financial Goals I Have For My 30s

by The Frisky

Finance GoalsI’m proud of the fact that, I achieved a couple major financial goals in my 20s, namely paying off all my credit card debt and building a career that has allowed me to save money every month. But this November, I will turn 32 — hmm, that’s sort of upsetting to actually see written down — and it’s time for new goals. I was planning on writing about the financial goals I plan to achieve by age 35, but upon realizing that I really only have three years until then (for some reason, I felt like my 30th birthday was yesterday), this list is now going to have a more general timeline. Won’t you join me and list your goals as well?

1. Pay off my student loans. My tuition at the University of California at Santa Cruz was basically paid for with a little money from my parents and a whole heck of a lot of student loans. I have been paying off the latter — slowly! — since I graduated 10 years ago. I’ve got the balance down to the lower five figures after paying a little above the minimum each month; always paying on time has been one way I’ve maintained good credit over the years. However, my mom said something to me this weekend about how this whole debt ceiling crisis thing is probably going to make the interest on what I owe go up, so now I think I’m going to start making significantly bigger payments. I would really like to have the whole shebang paid off in full before I turn 35.

2. Really assess my monthly expenses. Given that I can find 99 percent of the TV shows I watch online the day after they’ve aired on TV, do I really need to pay for cable? Or is paying for cable one of those adult luxuries I really want, whether I need it or not? Likewise, it’s been a long time since I last took a good hard look at my cellphone bill and justified the amount of minutes/text messages I was paying for versus what I used. While I’m lucky enough at this point in my life not to be living month to month, that good fortune has made me lazier about making sure I’m not just wasting money. By the end of the year, just after my 32nd birthday, I plan on analyzing both of these expenses and making adjustments that hopefully suit my lifestyle better and save me money.

3. Sell and/or make a decision about what to do with my engagement ring. I wrote about needing to do this (and feeling guilty about it) months ago, but I still haven’t gotten very far in actually doing it. In fairness, I did do some research and the jeweler that made it recommended I wait till closer to the holidays when I might get a better offer. So, my plan is to actually follow through on that recommendation and sell it if I can get what would be considered a fair price. If I decide not to sell it, I am going to turn it into another piece of jewelry. It doesn’t really hold any emotional significance to me anymore — and I’m definitely over feeling guilty — which is why my first choice is to sell it; but it’s a very beautiful piece of jewelry and I would hate to sell it for significantly less than I know it was “worth” originally, only to have someone else turn it into something fugs.

4. Buy property. In an ideal world, I would very much like to purchase a piece of property that I live in full-time. Given that I live in New York City, one of the most expensive markets in the country — possibly the world? — that might not happen. My ex and I explored home ownership here, so I’m familiar with just how little space you get for your money. While your home make appreciate significantly in value, you generally have to hold onto it for a long period of time. But if children are in my future — and, god willing, they are — living in a tiny space, even one that I own, is not going to be very feasible. While I could rent out any place I buy pre-kids, I’m not sure I would want the responsibility of having a tenant. However, I’ve read a bit about urban dwellers like myself buying “second” homes outside of the city — in upstate New York, for example — instead, especially if their jobs are flexible about working outside of an office. Buying property anywhere, of course, is more likely to happen if I were to merge my savings/life with that of a handsome, loving partner with working sperm. So, goal for the next five or so years: meet awesome baby daddy with desire to own property that has space for a hammock.

5. Take my 401K/IRA seriously. I am ashamed to admit I have never fully paid attention during any meeting about my 401K or my IRA or my [insert personal finance acronym]. Will Social Security even exist by the time I am of retiring age? I feel like I should proceed as if the answer is a resounding “NO.” The first step in doing so is to stop picking at my nail polish and daydreaming about banging the hot tall dude I’ve been “talking” with lately and actually pay attention during next week’s 401K meeting. The second step is picking up a book or two that explains the basics of such things to easily distracted financial ding-a-lings like myself. The third is to meet with my tax guy and set up an easy-to-understand system that has all of my financial info and documents in one place so I have no excuse for not knowing what’s going on. The fourth is to sit back and watch the money pile grow.

So, now it’s your turn: what are your financial goals for the next decade of your life?


This post originally appeared on The Frisky. Republished with permission.

  • kc

    Real talk. I want to stay (largely) debt free. Here’s hoping some sizeable grad school scholarships are in my future!

  • http://gravatar.com/baucemag baucemag

    Really great post! Would love to hear what her financial goals where in her 20s and how she met them!

  • http://purplenoonfilms.wordpress.com oshanae

    The second one I plan on doing myself

  • Kay

    One of the biggest obstacles I had to overcome in becoming mostly debt free was fear. My parents, bless their hearts, were wonderful people, but taught me to fear money and that money controlled you and your life. They never really taught me to USE money as a tool to control my own life. Luckily I never had any credit card debt, but I had to think seriously about my student loans. I ended up going with an income based repayment plan and started working for a nonprofit for a few years and had a HUGE portion of my debt forgiven. Many people don’t even know that that’s an option. If you work in an educational capacity for a low-income school you can get a nice chunk forgiven after 10 or 20 years I think as well.

    Another big thing is to check your credit report religiously. I keep a close eye on my credit score, take care of the little things that pop up as soon as possible.

  • Rakel

    Great post! Glad you were able to turn your goals into realities. I am in my 20s and have paid off all my credit card debt last year to be exact. Thank GOD!! My next goal is to save seriously every month. Planning today is planning for the future.

  • Jaslene

    So why did you keep the ring?

  • Danielle

    Call your cell phone company and see if you get a discount based on your employer.

  • No Comment

    Will checking your report religiously affect your score in any way?

  • mricks913

    I think it’s great to have goals for you finances, but it’s important to make financial decisions based on reality. Owning property is a great aspiration, but remember that when you are the owner you are responsible for everything from cutting the grass to replacing the roof, the water heater, the a/c and heating system, all the pipes, wiring and electricity. Also, if no one is renting the property you’re responsible for paying the mortgage on the place you don’t actually live in and the rent at the place that you do. Owning a home or any other property is not just about paying the mortgage every month. While your property might appreciate in value, if you can’t afford to keep it up, you’ll have a hard time selling it for what it’s worth when you’re ready to be rid of it.

  • Mademoiselle

    My goals:
    1. Own property (shooting for multiple)
    2. Trade stocks more regularly
    3. Never take on another debt that I can’t pay off in 5 years or less (so if I borrow money, it has to be for something that will either increase my income or decrease my expenses in the long run — managing my budget like a business)
    4. Decide whether I’ll ever want to own a business (and start my business plan if my answer is yes)

  • http://www.myhomematters.org Alanna (@myhomematters)

    Doing a regular check of your credit report will not hurt your score – its a smart thing to do. You can sign up for a service that monitors any changes for you (ex. freecreditreport.com – which isn’t free by the way)..or you can go directly to the 3 major bureaus for your report (Equifax, Experiann and TransUnion). You are entitled to 1 free report per year form each of them. You should try to check your report at least 2 times a year for fraud, inaccuracies and  to know your score. If your score is lower than 700, you should work on getting it up. Good credit helps with buying, saving and employment – so it shoulld be paid attention to and managed. A good article with a quick few tips can be found at: http://www.empowermagazine.com/its-a-new-year-time-to-check-your-finances/

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