If you’re like many other thirty-somethings, now is probably the time you’ll be taking on some of life’s greatest responsibilities. But whatever you choose to do in your 30s, some careful financial planning at this stage could help you achieve your goals earlier than you think and lay the foundations for a more secure future.

People often find that their life takes on new purpose or is perhaps really starting to take shape in their 30s. And for those who are progressing well in their careers, it should mean more disposable income too. As a result, people view their 30s as the time to focus on achieving major life goals, like settling down, buying a home and raising a family.

But while this traditional template won’t suit everyone, anyone seeking the financial freedom to choose their own path will benefit from financial planning.

You might feel more comfortable taking on higher-risk investments which offer the potential of higher returns

Figuring out your personal life plan

Financial planners often call the years between 30 and 40 the ‘accumulation stage’ of life. By this, they mean that people are likely to be earning more, and therefore have the opportunity to start saving more.

However, many people also find their 30s can be expensive. Events such as weddings or civil partnerships, a subsequent honeymoon, the costs of childcare, followed by school and university fees, family holidays, home improvements and maybe even career breaks, all have to be planned for and ultimately paid for.

Whether or not these life goals apply to you, it’s important to set some realistic objectives about what you want to achieve from life and how best to go about being able to afford it.

Becoming more investment-conscious

When you’re in your 30s, you’ll want to make sure any money you’ve invested is performing in line with your expectations. Make sure you take advantage of tax-efficient investment vehicles, such as ISAs and pensions that help you avoid paying unnecessary tax that could erode the value of your savings. You should also know the amount of risk you’re prepared, and can afford, to take and the amount of growth you’ll need from your investments in order to achieve your goals.

Your risk profile will also change over time. While you’re in your 30s, you might feel more comfortable taking on higher-risk investments which offer the potential of higher returns – you have more time to recover from market falls. By contrast, as you get older you will probably become more interested in lower-risk investments that earn a more predictable return or steady income that supports your retirement plans.

Now is probably a good time to start having annual reviews with your financial planner too, who can help ensure your investments stay on track, and your portfolio is adjusted as and when necessary.
Remember, the value of your investment can go down as well as up, and you could get back less than you paid in.

Paying more into your pension now can make a huge difference to your retirement pot later down the line

Increasing your pension contributions

Once you’ve got into the habit of paying into your pension, which your employer will also be contributing to (if you qualify), it’s important to keep increasing the amount you pay as you get older.

For example, any time you get a pay rise, consider increasing your pension contributions by the same percentage. It’s often tempting to reduce pension contributions to help free up money for other financial commitments but paying more into your pension during your 30s can make a huge difference to the size of your retirement pot later down the line.

Protecting what you have

If you own a home or you’re raising a family, now’s the time to be thinking about protection policies that will help cover you financially should something unexpected happen.

For example, taking out an income protection policy means you will receive a monthly income if you’re unable to work because of a long-term illness or injury. Life insurance, on the other hand, will provide a lump sum payout on your death, which can help your family to maintain, or pay off your mortgage.

Similarly, a critical illness policy will pay out a lump sum if you’re diagnosed with a critical illness that stops you from working – although it will only pay out for illnesses specifically covered in the terms of the policy. Whichever route you choose, it’s a good idea to talk to a qualified professional who can help to arrange a policy best suited to you and your family’s needs – and avoid duplicating any existing cover you may have in place.

Facing your future with confidence

While many people choose to ‘settle down’ in their 30s and focus on big picture plans like buying a house, raising a family and developing their career, what matters most is making sure you have a plan in place that gives you financial freedom to choose your own path. It’s what Amber River calls Life Landscaping®.

There have been significant changes to pension savings in the Spring Budget 2023 that may impact your retirement planning. To find out more, see: How does the 2023 Budget affect your pension and retirement planning?

Amber River Financial Planners

Our dedicated financial planners will take the time to get to know you, your financial goals and life aspirations, and help come up with a pathway that suits you. Everyone’s life landscape is different, but by working with a financial planner, you can help ensure you achieve your ambitions.

Get in touch

To speak to one of our team, arrange an appointment or find out more, call 0800 915 0000, or alternatively use our contact form here.