In just 48 short hours, I will be walking into my 30's like... BAM!
I'm ready... I'm really, really ready!
I'm excited because I feel like 30 is that age when you start to come into your true womanhood and begin to feel comfortable in your own skin. It's the time in your life where you've pretty much gotten over the people-pleasing phase and realize life is about living... truly living! And who wants to live life worried about money, hunty?
So just for my girlfriends, I want to share the key financial life lessons I've learned up until now... just because I love ya'll that much.
1. Have an Emergency Fund Separate from your Long Term Savings. I strongly suggest having two separate savings accounts: one for immediate emergencies and one that will be a long term savings for future large purchases. In life, we never know what is going to be thrown at us, so it’s imperative that we be prepared for the unknown. If something comes up, which it most certainly always does, you don’t want to take it from your long term savings that you’ve been working so hard to build, so your Emergency Fund will truly be your saving grace. The rule of thumb is to try to build your Emergency Savings up to about $1000 so you’ll have a safety net for when that catastrophe happens…. and believe me, it will happen… it’s just a matter of when, so it’s best to play it safe. 2. Don't Buy a House Until You’re Really Ready. I was 23 years old when I decided to buy my first home and it definitely wasn’t because I was ready for it. I honestly bought the house just because I wanted it… big mistake! The reality is that home ownership is a huge responsibility, and unexpected expenses come up all the time. That’s why that Emergency Fund I was talking about is so important. Like when the water heater breaks out of nowhere… you’re financially responsible! Or when the air conditioner stops working in the middle of the sweltering summer and it’s hotter in your house than it is outside… you’re financially responsible! Or when a tornado decides to make its way through your neighborhood and knocks down all your fencing… guess what?! You’re financially responsible! All of these things are one hundred percent real life experiences that I actually went through when I owned my home, so my best advice to you is to make sure you’re really ready to make the commitment before you sign on that dotted line. 3. Keep your Credit Scores High and Learn the Art of Negotiation. Two years ago, I negotiated my first car purchase on my own. I was a little bit excited and a little bit nervous about how things were going to play out, but anyone who knows me, knows that I’m always up for a challenge! Yet even though it was my first solo purchase, I was confident that I could walk out out that dealership with the car that I wanted, with the features I wanted, and at the payment I wanted because my credit scores were excellent. Now I don’t say this to brag, but when a girl’s got excellent credit… you can’t tell her nothin’! So needless to say, I negotiated my ass off and came out with a sweet deal. Numbers don’t lie girlfriends, so keep those credit scores high and watch how powerful you become when you negotiate your next financial agreement. 4. Prepare a Will and Name Your Beneficiaries. Death is usually a topic that no one wants to talk about, but I have learned first-hand that death knows no age and it definitely doesn’t discriminate. And as morbid as it sounds… we all must be prepared for when the Angel of Death comes knocking on our door. The worst thing you can do is leave your family in a state of financial turmoil after you have left this earth, so my advice is to prepare a Will asap so that all your financial wishes will be carried out just as you would like. Any money you have in a checking account, savings account, retirement account or any assets that you have accumulated during your time here on earth will have to be assigned a beneficiary. And anyone that you want handling your funds, needs to be stated. It’s a lot to think about, but it unfortunately, must be done. Personally, I created a Will & Testament using LegalZoom, and after answering a few questions, they provided a full legal draft describing all my wishes. The best parts about the site is that it’s easy to use, you don’t have to be legally savvy to understand what you’re doing, and it costs way less than hiring and sitting down with a traditional lawyer. Need help getting set up? Click the link below for more information.
5. Start Preparing for Retirement. Retirement is inevitable, right? I mean, no one wants to be working until the day they die, so it’s imperative to start preparing for your future now. So if your current employer offers a 401(k) plan… utilize it girlfriend, especially if they match up to a certain percentage (that’s just free money). If not, your current bank may offer a variety of retirement accounts for you to stash away some dough for your golden years... because hunty when I retire, I’m going to be on the beach somewhere drinking a cocktail out of a pineapple without a care in the world... and I hope you’ll be able to join me! 6. Invest. I’m not an investment manager nor am I equipped to give advice on what to or what not to invest in, but I do know you should be investing in something! Investing is just another way to grow your money and make it work for you! Many people are moving toward online investing and I happen to be one of them. Currently, I invest with an online company called Betterment. It’s an automated investment service that is geared toward the beginner investor and helps you learn as you go. Even if you’re still working on your savings and not ready just yet to start investing… I definitely think online investing is something worth looking into for when you get to that point. 7. Find the Sweet Spot Between Living Within Your Means and Enjoying Life. Like I said in my intro… life is about living and that doesn’t mean being confined at home because your budget is so tight and restricted that you can’t do anything else. Girlfriends… there’s ways to live within your means and still have some wiggle room in your budget for a night out with the girls, traveling with your honey, or buying a few new pieces for your wardrobe. Being on a budget doesn’t mean you cannot have fun… it just means you have to find a balance between splurging and saving. It can initially be a challenge, but once you find it… it’s oh so sweet! So as I enter into my 30's, I'm excited about the future life lessons to come and I can’t wait to share it with all my girlfriends, because just like fine wine... it'll only get better with time! Love ya'll. Until Next Time, Elle