Author Topic: What advice would you give a 30 year old?  (Read 7025 times)

MissStache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 710
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Washington, DC
What advice would you give a 30 year old?
« on: July 08, 2013, 11:24:58 AM »
Hello wise Mustacians!

  For those of you who are further along in years and on your journey to FI, what advice would you give to yourself (or someone else) at age 30?

  I'm new to the site, but starting from a good place.  No studen loan debt, no car loan, no mortgage.  I do have about 4K in credit card debt that is being swiftly paid down thanks so my new Mustacian ways.  Expect to have that off my back in 5 months or less.  Making about 51K/year, with $2100/mo take home.  15% (almost $600) going into 401K and saving $600/mo for an emergency fund.   But I've just started this job (new promotion), so 401K is only at about $2500 and Savings at about $2000.

  I'm not looking for a full case study, but just curious to know what you would have done if you were my age and in my situation.   Or, even simpler, what do you wish you knew at 30?

  I love this- feel like I have just woken up and discovered what life can be like!

Taylor

matchewed

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4346
  • Location: CT
Re: What advice would you give a 30 year old?
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2013, 11:52:35 AM »
Live like you did while paying off your loans or whatever you were doing before you hit 30. You'll be retired by 40ish. Keep looking for areas to cut back and resist the lifestyle increase temptations that surround you. Life is just fine without them.

fiveoclockshadow

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 216
  • Location: Baltimore
Re: What advice would you give a 30 year old?
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2013, 02:54:10 PM »
We've done pretty well fortunately, a lot of that on account of having good jobs and not frivolous spenders.  We've always maxed all retirement accounts and had significant savings beyond that.  We've mostly bought cars new, but usually drive them for about 13 years.  No drinking or smoking either.  No stupidly long commutes, but in one location longer than desirable.

Still, I'd probably tell myself not to get in the habit of eating out too much - gets pricey fast.  Not make as many outsourcing decisions (this gets more tempting the more money you make).

Finally I'd tell myself to keep housing costs under control.  There is a culture that a home is an "investment".  It is actually a really sucky investment, but there are still good times to buy vs. rent.  The issue is if you buy into the "investment" BS it is easy to convince yourself to buy something bigger.  No, no, no.  Keep your housing costs low, whether renting or buying.  And this is coming from someone who has by dumb luck done extremely well in buying and selling at the right time as far as real estate goes.  Keep your head on about housing, buying is fine but don't use the "investment" aspect sucker you into buying too big a house with all the expenses that saddle it.  There is a reason there are few big house rentals - the money just doesn't work out.  Stay small as practical whether you rent or buy.

You sound like you are on the right path.  Keep up that savings rate.

Oh and standard advice for all unmarrieds - know who you are marrying and have many frank financial discussions up front.  Better still know and watch your future spouse for a long time.  The statistics are of course uncertain, but finances are a primary cause of divorce (some surveys say a major factor in 90% of divorces).  It sounds cold and heartless, but honestly it is a huge thing.  Some people just haven't thought about it and you can have "the talk" and be on the same page as you.  Some may be a write off from the beginning.  If a couple can't successfully talk through this ahead of time it is a big red flag regarding other things they will have to compromise on over time.  A spendy spouse or a divorce (or often both) is extremely expensive.  On the other hand, a solid relationship with a real partner and communication is an amazing and wonderful thing.  Don't buy the BS Hollywood sells you on romance - love at first sight is like buying a sports car on an impulse.

nataelj

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 51
Re: What advice would you give a 30 year old?
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2013, 03:33:13 PM »
Being in your age range I can't speak to advice from the decades, but your writeup and my own presence in the DC area leaves me with a question, what's your rent situation like? I'm in the early stages of looking to downgrade my own situation to be able to save more, in this area sacrifices there seem to have the most payout as far as savings potential, I'd bet that if you're really looking to speed your journey to FI that's the first place to focus.

MissStache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 710
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Washington, DC
Re: What advice would you give a 30 year old?
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2013, 06:55:05 PM »
your writeup and my own presence in the DC area leaves me with a question, what's your rent situation like?

I'm extremely lucky that I have a financially stable and well-paid long-term boyfriend.  He pays 100% of the rent and I pay almost 100% of everything else.  It miraculously evens out to be the same percentage of our take home (but not the same amount), which we both feel is fair.  It a hair over $1700/month for a lovely but small place in Alexandria that we both adore.  I would be happy with something even smaller (obsessed with tiny houses), but he likes the extra space.  I feel like it is a good situation for the time being.

And fiveoclockshadow- YES.  This was something my parents taught me early on and I have taken to heart.  We are very open with our money and our budgets and our failures.  It has made for a remarkably peaceful and comfortable relationship. 

Frankies Girl

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3093
  • Age: 82
  • Location: The laboratory
  • Ghouls Just Wanna Have Funds!
Re: What advice would you give a 30 year old?
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2013, 07:41:17 PM »
I would stop the emergency fund if you've got at least $2000 in there now, and hit that credit card debt with the extra $600. Maybe still sock away $200/month to EF, and hit that debt with the extra $400 if you can't stand the idea of stopping it completely? If you added in an extra $600, that debt would be gone in 2 months or so... you didn't mention what the interest rate was, but it seems to me that hitting that debt harder is only going to save you money in the long run.

My husband and I pay our bills in the same manner as what you've laid out. We pay percentages based on what we actually make; meaning that I pay a larger portion overall since I make much more than he does, but we talked that all out in the beginning, and we periodically check in with each other to make sure we're both okay with the breakdown. I think the big thing is just to make sure you're discussing your plans for the future and how you spend and save your money. Sounds like you're doing pretty well tho!

gooki

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2397
  • Location: NZ
Re: What advice would you give a 30 year old?
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2013, 03:39:52 AM »
As a 33 year old, my top tips.

Avoid lifestyle inflation like the plague.

If/when you have kids, understand they don't need stuff. Just your time, love and attention.

Get your taxes sorted.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28260
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: What advice would you give a 30 year old?
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2013, 09:27:33 AM »
Previous similar discussion here: Things you wish you knew when you were 20.

My answer there included another link to a similar thread on the E-R.org forums:
This is a great thread on the E-R.org forums, almost the same as this topic at hand, filled with great thoughts/advice/wisdom:
Advice you'd give your 25 year old self

Anyone interested in this topic may want to read through those two threads.  :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5750
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: What advice would you give a 30 year old?
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2013, 09:40:55 AM »
Oh and standard advice for all unmarrieds - know who you are marrying and have many frank financial discussions up front.  Better still know and watch your future spouse for a long time.  The statistics are of course uncertain, but finances are a primary cause of divorce (some surveys say a major factor in 90% of divorces).  It sounds cold and heartless, but honestly it is a huge thing.  Some people just haven't thought about it and you can have "the talk" and be on the same page as you.  Some may be a write off from the beginning.  If a couple can't successfully talk through this ahead of time it is a big red flag regarding other things they will have to compromise on over time.  A spendy spouse or a divorce (or often both) is extremely expensive.  On the other hand, a solid relationship with a real partner and communication is an amazing and wonderful thing.  Don't buy the BS Hollywood sells you on romance - love at first sight is like buying a sports car on an impulse.

Came here to say this.  It appears I don't need to, as it's been said.

I can heartily say that the person I married (at about 30) is 90% or more why I am in a good financial position now.  We sort of had the talk... I mean: enough that we both knew we wanted to save a little... but nothing in depth.  I was a lucky, lucky bastard.

acanthurus

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 129
Re: What advice would you give a 30 year old?
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2013, 12:39:20 PM »
Maximize your earning potential. Network (biggie!). Build a real career. Stay continually employed. Job hop every few years to get meaningful pay raises if that's the kind of industry you're in. And avoid lifestyle inflation.

jrhampt

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1079
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Connecticut
Re: What advice would you give a 30 year old?
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2013, 10:44:58 AM »
I started getting serious at about age 31 or 32, but I ramped up slowly, and I wish I had maxed out my 401k every year, starting as early as I could.  For many years, I only contributed to the match.  So, I would tell my 30 year old self to max out my 401k, cut subscription services, and invest in my career.  Also that it gets easier and you should be well on your way in 5 years or so.

Free_at_50

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 91
  • Age: 55
  • Location: Arkansas
Re: What advice would you give a 30 year old?
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2013, 09:23:31 PM »
My advice is start reading this blog from it's beginning and dont stop until you read all 300+ posts.  If only half of it rubs off on you, you will be FI by the time you are in your 40's.  This by the way is the same advice I gave my 27 year old son and 29 year old daughter.  :)

JamesAt15

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 200
  • Location: Tokyo, Japan
Re: What advice would you give a 30 year old?
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2013, 10:54:51 PM »
Thirty is an interesting age - enough to have made some good career progression, be making a good living, and probably have succumbed to some lifestyle inflation along the way. To the average 30-year-old, retirement probably seems several decades away and not worth considering much "just yet".

What I would try to get across to the average 30-year-old, who is not aware of frugality and the ideas of early retirement, is that retirement/FI is a hell of a lot closer than 35 years away, if you choose for it to be. So much of my own financial behavior at that age was based on the unquestioned assumption that one just worked until 60-something before retiring. Once you shatter that assumption, a lot of possibilities present themselves.

Any readers of this forum are probably already well familiar with this, however.

  I love this- feel like I have just woken up and discovered what life can be like!

Yep.

I'm not a good mustachian, but once I had this realization about a year ago (in my mid-forties), I have had a great deal of fun reading, planning, thinking, playing with FIRECalc, building some frugality habits and finding I was just as happy as before. I feel much better knowing how much I can control when and how I retire/FI. I think the rest just flows from that realization.