How to invest in your 30s
Your 30s are a great time to start progressing toward your big financial goals, such as buying a house, getting married, or starting a family.
While this can be daunting, you still have lots of time to build a financial plan, including the best way to start investing if you want to.
1. Establish your priorities and identify any limits
It's not a good idea to take action without thinking about what you’d like your financial future to look like.
For example, are you:
Struggling with debt?
Confident that you’re investing enough for the future?
Setting yourself up for big financial milestones?
Understanding your key goals will help you make a plan that aligns with your priorities.
2. Clear your debt
Before you start investing, paying off any debt is sensible.
If you’ve built up a few debts, don’t panic. Now is the time to focus on clearing any short-term debts limiting how much you can save and invest.
If you’re only paying off the minimum amount on any debt, it means it will take longer to clear it, and you’ll pay more in interest.
There are many options to help you clear debt, from the snowball method to a debt management plan.
3. Build or start your retirement savings
You’ve likely got a few years of contributions into your retirement savings under your belt by now.
You should use a retirement calculator to determine how much you’ll need to contribute to secure your desired retirement income. The earlier you start, the less you pay each month.
If you have a solid retirement fund and more disposable income, it’s worth reviewing your contributions. You can add more to your personal accounts or talk to your employer about increasing how much you pay in each month.
4. Buy your own home
Buying your first home while you’re young is a savvy decision, as you may be able to pay off your mortgage before you retire and fully own your home.
If you’ve already purchased a home and put aside some money for investments, you could overpay on your mortgage, but it’s worth checking any limits with your lender first.
5. Be realistic about how much you can invest
With other priorities like saving for the future and paying down debts, you may be unable to invest as aggressively as you’d like in your 30s.
But even if you can only invest $50 per month, starting this in your 30s gives your investment a chance to grow over time.
6. Invest with a long-term view
Although no investment is ever risk-free, long-term investments help to mitigate many key worries investors have.
Leaving your investments for five, ten, or even 20 years gives them time to overcome market shocks and, in most cases, grow slowly and steadily over time.
There are many different investment options. Some investment platforms let you invest a small amount and may have no ongoing fees, while others may ask for a large deposit and charge ongoing fees but offer a wider range of services.
7. Passive vs. active
Once you’ve made a financial plan and set aside your investment budget, it’s time to consider how involved you’d like to be in your investments:
Do you want to set aside money and forget about it, accepting any potential losses in return for lower or no fees?
Would you prefer an active fund, where an experienced investment manager makes decisions to try and mitigate losses?
There are pros and cons to both active and passive investments. Even the most experienced fund manager can’t predict every market dip, but they can make decisions that maximize the value of your investments.
If you’re investing a small amount, the cost of fees may likely outweigh the value of an active fund, making passive funds a more cost-effective option.
If you’re unsure how to invest your cash best, an independent financial advisor will help you make the right decisions based on your circumstances.
With Unbiased, you can find a local advisor you can trust.
Senior Content Writer
Lisa-Marie Voneshen is a Senior Content Writer at Unbiased. She is an award-winning journalist with nearly a decade of experience writing and editing content across various areas, including personal finance and investing.