Some big life changes – and big expenses – can occur in your 30s. The key to maximising your retirement savings now is making savvy, forward-thinking financial decisions.
This becomes even more relevant when you’re surrounded by the current economic uncertainty. Short-term needs and expenses are front-of-mind and you might prioritise saving more money for a rainy day. Even so, it’s still possible to balance this with preparing for retirement while in your 30s to help make sure you eventually leave the workforce with sufficient financial freedom.
Set a budget – and stick to it
Your budget shouldn’t be static, and it’s a good idea to reassess it at different stages of your life. This is particularly important from age 30, when you’re potentially faced with a lot of large expenses, both expected and unexpected.
Start saving as much as you can
You’re no longer new to the workforce and, with a decade of experience under your belt, you may be in a position to receive a promotion or pay rise.
But just because you’re earning more doesn’t mean you should spend more. In fact, as your income grows, so too should your financial and savings goals. If you developed strong savings habits in your 20s – now’s a good time to save and invest to set aside even more for your future.
Boost your super
It’s time to get serious about super, so your retirement savings are maximised – like consolidating funds where appropriate, choosing a fund that’s in line with your values and understanding where and how your money is generating an investment return, then it’s time to think about these tasks.
Next, if you were one of the thousands of Australians who withdrew their superannuation under the Federal Government’s early super access scheme, start thinking about how you might be able to replenish your super balance. You could do this by making a personal super contribution – you could then try claim this amount as a tax deduction in your tax return or potentially receive a government bonus to your super in the form of a co-contribution.
If you’re an employee, on top of the compulsory superannuation guarantee (SG) from your employer (currently 9.5%) you might also consider salary sacrificing, which is where your employer makes additional voluntary contributions to your super account. You choose the amount your comfortable salary sacrificing, and it’s paid directly from your before-tax income.
Whatever strategy you choose, by setting up payments as an automatic contribution, you’re less likely to even notice them coming out. Plus, putting these tactics in place now means you’re taking a small but vital step toward ensuring your financial wellbeing and a comfortable retirement.
Identify additional income streams
Help save for retirement in your 30s through a side hustle or by regularly getting rid of the stuff you no longer use. It’s also potentially a fun way to meet new people and spend more time doing the things you love. Consider putting whatever you earn from these side projects directly into your retirement account – you’ll be building funds for your future, while decluttering or getting your creative juices flowing.
Assess your insurance needs
With more responsibilities, and possibly debts, it’s probably a good time to make sure your financial future is protected with insurance. You might consider taking out private health insurance before you turn 31, to avoid paying a lifetime health cover loading on top of your premium.
While it may not seem like something you need just yet, income protection and life insurance are not just for oldies. They’re relevant for Aussies at all life stages, especially those of working age with ambitions for the future. Imagine if you couldn’t work because of illness or an accident – taking out insurance can protect you from having to dip into your savings to pay for unforeseen expenses whilst you’re off work.
Save and invest wisely
This is the decade where you might consider investing more aggressively for your future, however it’s important to make considered decisions with advice from those in the know.
If you’re a newbie investor, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration, including what level of risk you’re comfortable with and how diversified you’d like your portfolio to be. Start small, set clear goals and continually re-evaluate your progress.
Get personal finance advice
Whether you talk to your partner, use savvy friends as a sounding board, or get advice from your parents, it’s good to have honest conversations about personal finance. But it’s also important to understand the value of qualified professional advice. Consider making an appointment to see a financial adviser to help you better understand your financial situation, so you can set and reach your retirement goals.