Welcome to the grand old thirties, a defining period of a man’s life which often creeps up out of nowhere to bark a familiar set of orders. Grow up, revel in stability, get married and start a family.
In the world of personal finance management, that’s easier said than done. No longer will a man at this stage be looking after himself, but possibly a partner, a child and a fresh mortgage. Diversity during this period is also rife which means that most men will be well into forging their future based on differing needs and circumstances.
“You should have an emergency fund set up for those unexpected, but guaranteed to occur at some point, expenses.”
All of these factors still allude to one overbearing query: How can a man get ahead financially during this decade?
The money pile doesn’t need to run thin just because your hair is. These are the five expert money saving tips curated to help you stay on top of the game.
#1 Expect Unexpected Expenses
Forget about your Dirty Thirties for a second and spare a thought for his responsible mate, Thrifty Thirties. This guy gets zero action but all the boring responsibility that comes with ageing. One of the banes of his existences? Expenses.
Luke Laretive who is the Senior Private Wealth Advisor over at Shaw & Partners explains that there is often a tendency to upgrade lifestyle as one’s income increases. This is especially true for some men during their thirties.
“You might move into a nicer place, buy better quality clothes and instead of back packing through South America you’re booking a luxury yacht in Croatia.”
“This is natural and the point of making more money. It’s good practice though to have a budget, save first and spend your money on things that matter to you.”
These things that matter could come in the form of rising rent prices, rising child care fees, health insurance premiums and the cost of raising a family and putting bread on the table. For a lot of men in their thirties, their life isn’t just about them anymore.
As Laretive has said before in our previous guide to managing money in your twenties, “the easiest way to navigate the lifestyle-vs-saving landscape is to decide and set your goals earlier on and the then set up your finances so you don’t have to think about it.”
Ideally you would have also had your budgeting habits in check by now. “Budgeting is a boring and depressing affair for everyone so the key is to find whatever works for you – an app, a family accountant, whatever – just make sure it’s as easy and simple as possible to manage,” says Laretive.
#2 Change Your Spending Habits
Sorry gents, but thirty is not the new twenty. Especially not when it comes to spending habits.
As the chances of accidents increase with the arrival of loved ones dependent on you, it’s important to have things such as an emergency fund lying around. This can help with things such as unexpected illnesses, natural disasters damaging your home or a partner losing their job.
Laretive says that by the time a man is in his thirties, he would have hopefully gotten the hang of living life as an adult and a being responsible with managing money.
“Your income is likely to be higher than in your twenties so you should have an emergency fund set up for those unexpected, but guaranteed to occur at some point, expenses such as car or home repairs.”
#3 Maximise Earnings During This Decade
Here’s what the money makers came to hear. Assuming that most men in their thirties would have settled down in a career to earn a stable income, how else could he possibly earn more?
“In terms of switching jobs or sticking it out for a promotion, every individual situation will be different,” explains Laretive.
“I believe the most important thing is to have a strategy and to be valuable and unique. If you want to earn more money you can’t be waiting around for someone to just give it to you. Make your ambitions known and work for it.”
More importantly, Laretive says that the easiest way to realise your true market value is to get another job offer for more money.
“Take that to your current employer and you may be able to negotiate yourself a raise. Most smart managers understand the cost of losing good staff is often higher* than the pay rise the person would need to stay. (*assuming you are good)”
“Investing should be looked at as one component of your financial plan. In terms of investing vs career you shouldn’t neglect one in favour of the other, it’s both.”
#4 Future Planning
It’s not rocket science to see that planning for your future will make life a lot easier in the long run. Your early thirties is the optimum time to start this.
“If you’ve got a partner, they should be involved in the discussion as well so you’re both on the same page and working towards the same goals,” says Laretive.
“Things such as insurance and wills become particularly important once you’ve got debt and dependants. Having your affairs in order will save everyone a lot of hassles if you get hit by a bus.”
A superfund should also be accumulating nicely at this stage in your life. Given there’s been the ballpark 9.5% savings earned over the last ten years (or more), a man should start considering a retirement age and quality of life after you’ve pulled the last shift ever.
It might sound daunting but there’s a legitimate reason for this according to Laretive.
“At this age you’ve still got enough time ahead of you to readjust if you’re not on track to be able to afford the retirement you want.”
#5 Intelligent Risk Taking
There’s a new trend amongst professional males and females which sees the onset of thirty as a sign to throw in the towel for the rat race in favour of becoming one’s own boss.
There’s easily a decade’s worth of capital saved, the life experience is there and you know how to hustle for someone else, so why not for yourself, right? Close.
“Entrepreneurship is really fashionable at the moment but the reality is that running a business is not suited to everyone,” says Laretive.
“You need to know yourself and determine if that’s what you really want or are you just following a trend?”
Laretive believes that the side-hustle approach is a much better option that’s a reasonably low risk way to dip your toe in the water without leaving the security of your job.
“Start your business and work on it after work and on the weekend. If you get to the point where you can justify giving up your salary (and the majority of your free time) for the business opportunity and that’s what you want to do, go for it.”
Special thanks to Luke Laretive who is a Senior Private Wealth Adviser @ Shaw and Partners. This is general advice and you should consider it in light of your personal circumstances.