30 Financial Rules That Every 30 Year-Old Should Know (or risk going broke)

The BIG 3-0. 

The age that you’re really an adult.  In your 20′s, you could still swing being a bit immature.

Once 30 comes it’s game over.   And now that I’m 35….

Dang! Am I really 35?   <sigh>

Halfway through my 30′s and I’ve been rocking it the best way I can.

As a result, I’ve had some time to reflect on the things I’ve done right — and things I’ve done wrong  <<— trust me… there’s been plenty of wrong.

Living as a 30-something brings a lot of new and interesting financial challenges.

financial rules for 30s

You are probably making more money now than you ever have before, but you also have more challenges.

A couple of things we’ve dealt with is having more kids, building a home, changing careers, starting new businesses, and dealing with loss.

And this decade is one in which the thought of retirement and other financial issues becomes a little more “real.”

Whether you are about to turn 30, or whether you are heading into your mid-30s, now is a good time to review the following 30 financial rules for your 30s:
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The Newlywed’s Guide to Budgeting

Do you ever feel like you can only learn things the hard way?

That you were told what to expect in certain areas of life but couldn’t fully understand until experiencing it firsthand? I know I do. My most recent first hand lesson was just a few months ago – planning my wedding.

Newlyweds Guide to Budgeting

I’ve heard that weddings are hard but I never could have truly grasped the amount of turmoil they can cause in your life without going through it myself. Between the money, the time, and the inevitable disagreements on howitshouldlookwhereitshouldbehowmanypeopleshouldbeinvited, it can feel nearly impossible to get through.

And by the time my husband (still feels weird to say that word!) and I got to the other side, we were convinced that nothing we go through together could ever be that hard again. We were lean, mean, conflict-busting machines.

…and then it came time to sit down and work on our finances together. We had planned to do this prior to the wedding, but with both of us working at startups (read: long hours) and planning a wedding from across the country (SF to NY), we just didn’t have the bandwidth to talk about our finances. So we saved the couples finance talk until after the wedding. Not exactly the best strategy…
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The How To Guide for Becoming a Financial Planner

This is a guest post by Dave Grant of Finance For Teachers.  

Being a financial planner I get asked all the time how others can get started in our business.  I’ve shared on the blog before how I got started, how I became a CFP®, and what it takes to become a successful financial advisor.  Many of you have appreciated those posts – Thank you! 

On Twitter I caught wind of another advisor that recently started his own RIA firm (like me).  He even chronicled his journey in Financial Planning Magazine.  I loved his openness and honesty in those pieces that I decided to ask him to share his journey on the blog for others that are interested in becoming a financial planner. 

Dave Grant is a fellow Certified Financial Planner™ like myself, loves soccer and extremely proud that he taught his young son how to pee standing up (I can relate!).  He’s a cool dude and I’m excited he took the time to share his story below. 

Enter Dave…


become a financial planner

Firstly, thank you for reading past the title itself. This piece is not for everyone, but if you’re looking to become a financial planner, then you NEED to read this.
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Can You Rollover Your 401k to a Roth IRA?

Typically, most people will initiate a 401k rollover to a traditional IRA.

A common question that I’ve been getting lately is,

“If you can roll over your 401k into a Roth IRA then how you do it?”

401k rollover into Roth IRA

Whenever you leave your job, you have a decision to make with your 401k plan.

A variation to that is if you have been contributing to a Roth 401k…..then what are your choices?

Let’s see if I can help you make “cents” of the situation. Here’s how you roll over 401k into a Roth IRA.

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Dollars and Cents: Can You Become a Part-Time Financial Planner?

It’s time for another edition of Dollar and Cents. This is where I answer one of your questions.

If you have a question, either use the contact form on the blog or use my Facebook Fanpage.

Today’s question comes from Derek:

Hey Jeff, First thing I want to say great blog! I’m currently in the workforce and entertaining a new profession as a financial planner. I really enjoy keeping up with the markets and many of my friends and co-workers come to me for advice on their investments. I’ve been doing some research in getting in the business and it seems daunting as many of the big brokerage firms want you to work crazy hours the first couple of years. I’m not ready to give up my day job and was considering giving it a go part-time. What do you think about the likelihood of being a part-time a financial planner?

Derek is not the 1st person to ask me about becoming a part-time financial advisor. Many people that have a love for investing, numbers, and helping people have emailed asking me something similar.

To all of those that are interested in the financial planning profession on part-time basis, this video is for you. ;-)

Making sure that I hadn’t missed anything regarding being a part-time financial advisor, I asked some of my colleagues to share their thoughts on the matter.  Here’s some comments from a fellow financial advisor whether you can do it part-time: [Read more...]

4 Money Problems You Don’t Want to Experience the Hard Way

It hurts to learn a lesson the hard way – especially with financial lessons.

There’s nothing like that sick feeling in your stomach when you realize you’ve screwed up royally and will have to face the consequences.

And yet, we all have those stories about the times we messed up and the lessons we learned, don’t we?

money problems to avoid

The only silver lining is that we can teach other to avoid certain mistakes that we ourselves have made. Hopefully by sharing our experiences, we ensure that others don’t have to learn the hard way. Below, I’ll examine 4 of the most important lessons that we tend to learn the hard way:
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Top 10 Best (and Free) Online Budgeting Tools

In these tough economic times, many recognize the importance of financial planning.

You want to ensure that your resources are directed to best effect, and that means creating a spending plan that works well for your situation, and helps you prepare for the future.

online budgeting tools

Good budgeting software can help you take charge of your finances.

Happily, a large number of free online budget tools exists. You can get help for nearly any budgetary need you have.

Here are some of the best free online budget tools that can help you chart a course to financial freedom:
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What is Considered a Middle Class Income?

what is middle class income Many of us identify as middle class. It provides us with an identity that is respectable, and implies that we are “normal.”

After all, if you are middle class, you aren’t stuck with some of the stigmas that can come with being poor, and you are painted with the elitist brush for being rich. Middle class is a comfortable place to be for many of us.

It also helps, too, that middle class identity is probably deeply ingrained in your psyche. Many of the children of Baby Boomers (I’m one) grew up in the middle class, espousing “middle class values.” My experience was one of being poor until I was about 12, since my parents got married relatively young and started having kids.

Then, once my dad finished school and began making more money, we moved into a middle class neighborhood, able to afford the necessities of life, and some of the luxuries. The middle class mentality, for many in my generation, is based on similar experiences: Remembering the poor life as our parents initially struggled, but enjoying greater comfort as they began earning more.

But middle class is more than just your own mindset. It also includes numbers. Many of those who have a middle class mentality might not actually be considered middle class when it gets right down to income. [Read more...]

Couples Finances: What to Do if You Don’t Agree

couple money argument
If you’re married or in a serious relationship, then you’ve probably already heard all the advice about how to manage your finances together: communicate, create goals together, don’t hide information from each other. This advice all sounds easy to do – and it’s certainly easy to give! But people aren’t perfect and neither are relationships. So what do you do if you simply can’t see eye to eye with your partner on your finances?

Defeat Defeatism

It can be a scary moment when you and your partner first realize that you don’t see eye to eye on your finances. You might see him or her in a whole different light. How could your seemingly logical fiance really believe that she should go shopping every month? How can your normally frugal husband think it’s okay to purchase lunch out every day? See what I mean?

First, try to suspend judgement. We all have something in life that we like to do that isn’t logical. I, for example, refuse to buy lunch out every day. But if a long day calls for an afternoon mocha from the local coffee shop…I’m probably not going to say no. So rather than think that this disagreement is a foreboding sign for your relationship, remember that we all have little splurges that don’t always make sense. It doesn’t make us bad people – it just makes us people.
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Would You Spend More than $28,000 on a Wedding?

It will be 9 years ago this November that I had the honor of walking my wife down the aisle. Our first wedding (Yes, we had two. More on that in a bit…) didn’t cost close to the $28,000 that the post title references.

When I hear stories of these elaborate weddings that cost tens of thousands of dollars, I don’t get it. Why?

So the question remains: How much does a wedding cost? And probably more important, “should” cost.

I’ve tasked Miranda to do some research. Be sure to check out my story in the middle of the post that talks about why I got married to the same woman twice. :)

how much does a wedding cost
Enter Miranda….
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5 Tips for Reducing Financial Stress

Money StressEvery now and then, we run into periods of financial stress.

Right now, I’m preparing to close on a home refinance.

We need to bring some money to the table (the lower rate and savings on the monthly payment mean that it will be made up in about six months), and I am feeling a little stress about the situation.

Do we have the assets?
Yes. Am I worried that something will come up to interrupt our cash flow? Yes.

Financial stress can come in a number of forms, from unexpected car repairs, to high levels of debt, to wondering how you will pay for your kids’ extracurricular activities.

If you are experiencing financial stress, here are 5 tips that can help you overcome it:
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