The following post is from DW, the owner and writer of a personal finance blog called TheMoneyTemplate.com. The Money Template covers a wide variety of ideas for investing, saving more of your money, and having an overall better life.
It really is true what they say – the older you get, the smarter you become!
Maybe that’s true. Or maybe you just get better at narrowing down what’s important and start filtering out all the rest.
As a married man with two pre-teen kids, I can tell you that life in your 30’s is a lot different than it was in your 20’s. And that’s a good thing! As you get just a little bit older you begin to realize that you want to accomplish certain things with your life, and you develop a habit of doing only those activities that help you to get the results you want.
Just in case you’re not in your 30’s yet (or not as far along as I am with the spouse and kids), here’s a preview of things to come.
How Life in Your 30’s is Different:
Time with the kids is limited – don’t squander it!
When my kids were younger (babies really), I remember staying up late to work on things for my job or passing them off to my wife when they would be agitated. Years later what do I remember about all of that? Nothing about the job and only regrets that I didn’t use my energy to enjoy the kids more while they were that young.
As much I hope it never happens, I’m fully aware that someday my kids will think “I suck” and won’t want to talk to me about anything.
So in the present whenever they want to play or talk to me about whatever is on their mind (no matter how unimportant it may be), I let them. Now is the time to gain their trust, establish communication, and make the most of what opportunities we have to make memories. Once they’ve grown up and moved out, the opportunity will not be the same.
To stay married, you and your spouse will need something beyond the kids.
Marriage is easy at first when you’re young. You plan out when you’ll have kids, buy a new car, buy a new house, get different jobs, and so on. The two of you have common goals.
This is where things can get off track if you’re not careful. As our kids age and start to become more independent, neither of you need to be as attentive to the kids as you did when they were smaller and more helpless. This can create the opportunity for a new beginning or a dark void. Of course choose the first option!
Finding a life beyond the kids and seeking out new opportunities don’t have to be anything grand. For example it could be a new hobby or sport you both enjoy. In the past 2 years my wife and I have really started to get more and more serious about our own physical fitness. We carve out a time in the mornings to do workouts and even encourage good eating habits throughout the day.
There are dozens of other things you could do. The goal is to choose something that both of you truly will enjoy.
Retirement savings is really important – and time is ticking away!
The only thing you realize about retirement saving in your 30’s is that you wish you would have stashed away a lot more money in your 20’s!
Time is one of the biggest assets you have when it comes to investing and trying to figure out how to become financially independent. Without knowing anything about mutual funds you could easily max out your retirement savings options and end up with a nest egg that is much larger than you peers.
Don’t miss the opportunity to take advantage of your tax-advantaged savings plans and start building your family fortune. By doing so you’ll be able to call the shots and retire when you want to.
Beyond that, you can be your family’s protector in more ways than one. In ancient times, the man of the house (or hut) was measured by the size of his muscles or how many wild animals he was able to kill and bring back to his family.
These days in modern civilization being a protector means different things. A man can still do a great deal to shield his family from danger by making sure he’s done the following.
- Medical insurance.
- Auto insurance.
- Homeowners insurance.
- Life insurance. Even if you don’t think you’ll qualify, they offer guaranteed term life insurance so that you’ll always have some form of coverage.
- Disability insurance.
- An emergency fund.
- A college savings fund for your kids.
- Keeping your tax situation as low as possible.
It’s okay to need help or be confused on some of these topics when you’re younger. But once you start to experience life in your 30’s each of these items becomes something that you absolutely need to be on top of and ready to tackle. Your kids are NOT going to want to be burdened with your finances as you get elderly. Set a good example and make their lives as well as your own as bullet-proof as possible by following up in each of these different areas. You’ll be glad you did!