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15 Financial Goals to Achieve By 30: Reach Your Money Milestone

March 02, 2023

It’s vital to be conscious of your financial situation as you get older. The earlier you plan out your financial future, the more prepared you’ll be for the future—and all the expenses that come with it. One of the best ways to get ahead is to look at the financial goals to set by the time you’re 30 years old.

Why Is It Important to Set Financial Goals By age 30?

It’s important to set financial goals by your 30s because doing so will help you evaluate where your financial situation is now, and what you have to do to get it where you want it. Some of the most important factors to consider when setting financial milestones are:

  • Your gross income
  • Your living situation (rent vs. owning a home)
  • Your marital status
  • If you have children or not
  • Your current debts

These factors will influence your financial milestones, as they’re the goals you’re aiming to achieve. Not sure where to start? Read on to learn about financial goals, what else to consider when making them, and the specific financial goals you should reach by age 30.

What are Financial Goals?

Financial goals are key money milestones you set for yourself. They typically include milestones related to:

  • Investing
  • Saving
  • Income earnings
  • Paying down debt

Some examples of financial goals include:

  • Have $10,000 in an emergency savings fund
  • Invest at least $15,000 per year
  • Have an annual income of at least $150,000 by age 35
  • Pay student loans off by age 28

Knowing what exactly these milestones are defined as is crucial when determining which financial goals you should have by the time you’re 30, as it will help you narrow down what exactly you want to achieve and what you can do to achieve it.

Differences Between Long-Term and Short-Term Financial Goals

Short-term financial goals are the money milestones you wish to achieve in a shorter amount of time. This timeframe can vary, from one month all the way up to one year. Since they’re short-term goals, they’re often smaller milestones that are easier to achieve in a shorter span of time. Examples of short-term financial goals are:

  • Paying off your remaining credit card debt within three months
  • Put away money for an emergency fund

On the other hand, a long-term financial goal is a money milestone that takes years to achieve. The average timeframe is between three and five years, but that timeframe really depends on how big your long-term financial goal is. These kinds of financial goals will take you longer to complete, as they’re often goals that influence your life in a larger capacity. Some examples of long-term financial goals include:

  • Saving for a child’s college fund
  • Saving for a 20% down payment on your dream home

When thinking about your ideal financial goals by age 30, it’s important to know the differences between short-term and long-term milestones because it helps you prioritize your goals and provides you with a timeframe to work with.

When Should These Financial Goals Be Set?

These financial goals should be set as soon as you feel ready to commit to them. The sooner you start, the better. Turning 30 may seem far away…but time has a funny way of flying by. If you can, start thinking about your financial goals when you get your first job, even if it’s a part-time gig in high school.

What Is The Best Way to Set Financial Goals?

We get it—it can be overwhelming to set those financial goals you want to reach by your 30s, especially if you’re just starting your financial journey. It doesn’t have to be difficult, though. In fact, when done right and put in the right perspective, planning your financial moves is exciting. While each person’s financial goals and timeframes vary, these are some general tips to keep in mind when setting your financial goals:

Step 1: Think about your current financial situation, and what you want your future financial situation to be. What do you need to do to get there? Think about that question, and write down what financial goals you need to achieve to make it happen.

Step 2: Once you brainstorm ways to achieve your ideal financial future, put needed milestones into two categories: short-term goals and long-term goals. Be sure to make these milestones as specific as possible for tracking purposes.

Step 3: Prioritize your goals and set completion dates for them. Start with the most achievable short-term goals and work your way up. For example, if two of your short-term goals are to pay off your $250 credit card bill and put $5,000 aside for an emergency savings fund, prioritize the credit card payment goal. The reason? You can achieve that goal faster, and once it’s accomplished, you can take the money that was going towards that goal and put it towards your emergency savings fund  goal.

Step 4: Check in on your progress. Set some time aside each week to track your goals and measure how you’re doing. This analysis is crucial, as it tells you if you’re on the right track to achieve your goals on time or if you need to pivot.

Step 5: Remember to be flexible when it’s needed. Yes, it’s important to set those financial goals to reach by age 30, but you need to be realistic, too. Things may come up (a sudden medical bill, an unexpected car repair, etc.) that require you to change your short-term, or even your long-term, goals.

How Often Should You Review Your Financial Goals?

The general rule of thumb is to do a thorough review of your financial goals once a year. That means you sit down, crunch the numbers, and determine if your financial goals, especially those long-term goals, are still attainable. It also gives you the opportunity to see how many of your short-term goals you achieved, how long it took you to achieve them, and if you didn’t achieve certain short-term goals. All this information is crucial if you want to achieve certain financial goals by age 30.

You should also review your financial goals if a significant life event happens and changes your income, including a promotion, a layoff, a marriage, a home purchase, or if you start your own business. These typically cause big money changes, and as such, your short-term and long-term financial goals will need adjusting.

Why Is It Important to Have a Good Financial Goals Plan By 30?

It’s important to have solid financial goals by age 30 for several reasons. For starters, having these money goals creates a roadmap for future finances and sets you up for success. These goals also provide building blocks for future money goals, meaning you can build on them for decades to come. The key to building a successful financial future is to have a solid foundation—a foundation built by those financial moves made by age 30.

The Financial Goals to Reach By Your 30s

CNBC reports that the median net worth for people under age 35 is $13,900, with the average net worth being $76,300. If you want to reach this amount, or exceed it, then set the following financial goals by age 30. Doing so will help you increase your wealth and make your money work smarter.

  1. Establish a monthly budget and stick to it. Having a monthly budget helps you curb overspending and analyze what your cash flow looks like. Sticking to a monthly budget that lets you set money aside for your goals is crucial, especially when you’re at the start of your financial journey.
  2. Achieve a good credit score. A credit score is a number that tells money lenders how creditworthy you are. This score essentially tells lenders if you’re a good candidate to give credit to. The higher the score, the better—scores fall between 300 and 850. Having a good credit score boosts your chances of securing more (and higher) loans at better rates. Keys to achieving a good credit score include: Consistently paying bills on time, Being strategic with which accounts you open—and when, and Keeping your credit utilization below 30%
  3. Create an emergency fund. Life can change in an instant. You could fall ill or get into an accident, or even be laid off unexpectedly. That’s why creating an emergency fund is one of the most important financial goals to achieve by your 30s. An emergency fund is exactly as it sounds; it’s money set aside in case an unexpected expense comes up. A good rule of thumb is to have between three and six months’ worth of living expenses saved in your emergency fund. Putting this money in a high-yield savings account, which typically offers a higher interest rate than an average savings account, can help that fund grow faster.
  4. Start contributing to a retirement account. Retirement can seem like a lifetime away when you’re young. Talk to anyone who is retired, though, and they’ll tell you it came sooner than they imagined. That’s why people should start contributing to a retirement account as soon as they’re able to, but definitely by the time they’re 30. There are different types of retirement accounts, including 401K (which many employers provide) and/or Roth IRA. Each retirement account has its own perks and considerations, so do your research and contribute to an account that best serves your retirement goals.
  5. Eliminate as much debt as possible. Being debt-free is incredibly freeing. By age 30, people should aim to eliminate as much debt as possible, whether it be from credit cards, student loans, or car loans. Focus on paying off the high-interest debt first, then work your way through.
  6. Negotiate your bills. Look at your current bills and see which ones you could negotiate. This can help you save cash each month and grow your nest egg.
  7. Start investing. Investing is a proven way to grow your money and boost your finances. If you haven’t started investing by your 30s, don’t panic—you can still grow your money with this strategy. Do your research and see which type of investing works for you, whether it’s investing in the stock market, real estate, or something else. If you aren’t sure where to start, consider working with a financial advisor to help get the ball rolling.
  8. Get a credit card (if you don’t have one already). Some people avoid credit cards, but opening one has its perks, if you manage it properly. Using a credit card wisely helps you build credit and improve your credit score. Find a credit card that has great rewards and cash back opportunities—that way, you could earn some cash and freebies just from swiping.
  9. Start saving for a down payment. If home ownership is one of your long-term financial goals, it’s important to start saving for a down payment as early as you can. Buyers need to put at least 20% down to avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI) each month. However, there are programs and loans that help first-time home buyers, like an FHA loan, which only requires qualified buyers to put down a 3.5% down payment. The earlier you start saving for a down payment, the better.
  10. Expand your portfolio. If you’re already investing by the time you’re 30, look at your portfolio and see where you could expand. Diversifying your portfolio, essentially, prevents you from putting all your eggs in one basket—or, in this case, one investment. If one investment stream goes south, you have others to rely on.
  11. Set up a side-hustle. A side-hustle is an income stream driven by a hobby or side project. Establishing a side-hustle you’re passionate about can help you earn more money and, as such, reach your short-term and long-term financial goals faster. Who knows—it could eventually grow to become your full-time gig!
  12. Create a fun fund. Yes, saving for short-term and long-term financial goals is crucial, but you need to have some fun, too. Establish and contribute to a fund that’s solely dedicated to paying for vacations, special trips, and nights out. That way, you budget properly for your entertainment and don’t cut into other funds.
  13. Set up a will. Yes, this goal is a bit morbid. However, it’s vital to have a plan in place for your assets if you pass. Set up a will and establish how your assets will be divided up, from real estate to savings.
  14. Start a college fund. Speaking of education, if going back to school is anywhere in your life plan, start a college fund for yourself now. The goal? Not to have student loan debt, especially if you’ve already paid off student debt. Not planning on advancing your education? If you want to have kids, open college funds for them instead.
  15. Increase your salary. Use this time to evaluate your current salary and brainstorm ways to increase it. This would increase your income and, as such, increase the cash flow for your goals. You could do the following things to increase your salary:
    • Negotiate a promotion and pay raise
    • Find a higher paying job
    • Upskill
    • Continue your education

Final Thoughts on Financial Goals to Have By 30 

Keep in mind that everyone’s financial situation is different and, as such, your financial goals may differ from your friend’s, sibling’s, or co-worker’s. Remember to create goals that fit your lifestyle and needs, not ones you’re creating to keep up with others. And, remember that, while it’s great to stick to your goals, you shouldn’t be hard on yourself if you need to adjust some as needed. Do what you need to do to stay on track and save the money you need wisely.

And when you’re ready to discuss your financial goals with a bank you can trust, the experts at GSB are here to help you plan for a future you can aspire to achieve.