Turning 30 is a big milestone in life. Renewing your Identity Card (compulsory for Singaporeans and PRs), applying for a Built-to-Order (BTO) flat and taking a serious LinkedIn headshot are just a few signs to indicate that adulting is becoming real.
It’s also a wake-up call to re-evaluate things in life, particularly in the finance department. In your 20s, you probably use to make non-essential purchases without a second thought, but you’ll now stop to think if you really need another pair of trainers, or a new mobile phone when your current device is working just fine. Specifically, you might be asking yourself how such non-discretionary purchases would push you further away from your financial goals.
But this coming-of-age doesn’t mean you have to freak out and hit the panic button. Embrace this milestone and take it as an opportunity to reassess areas in your life that need improvement. Without further ado, let’s figure out adulthood.
Start on a clean slate.
Before you consider buying your first apartment or starting a family, reassess your debt level. Make sure you’re debt-free. Owing nothing and having money in the bank will make it a lot easier to face surprises – which new homes and kids are known for. Granted, you may have a student loan, credit card payments or other forms of outstanding debts carried forward from your 20s. But don’t be disheartened. While there’s no easy way out of debt, there are free tools and useful articles that will teach you effective ways to eliminate debt.
Have an emergency fund.
By the time you’re 30, you could be at least half a decade into your career and for some, approaching the peak earning years. Depending on your financial situation, it’s recommended that you have at least three to six months of your monthly salary stowed away as an emergency fund. The easiest way to start saving in a disciplined manner (if you haven’t already) is to set up an emergency-withdrawal-only savings account (preferably one without an online banking facility that’d make it too easy to make online purchases, and leave the ATM card with your mum so withdrawals would be a hassle). Put a portion of your monthly salary into this account. This is one of the simplest and most manageable ways to build your savings while having enough for your essentials, bills and the occasional splurge. But don’t just set funds in a savings account when you can consider a savings plan that may potentially offer better interest rates and other benefits such as insurance coverage or free shopping vouchers.
Reassess your protection needs.
Now that you’re entering your prime earning years, the next question you may want to ask yourself is how to protect your most valuable asset — yourself. Here are some basic insurance policies to consider: health insurance, disability insurance and life insurance.
Since every Singaporean and PR is covered under MediShield Life, a basic healthcare insurance plan administered by the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board, you may want to look into the other two forms of protection if you deem that you have adequate health coverage. Your 30s is typically when you’ll conquer milestones like getting married and having children, and you may also have to start supporting your ageing parents. Having life insurance ensures that if anything unexpected happens to you, your dependants will be protected against financial loss.
From 1 October 2020, all Singaporeans and PRs aged between 30 and 40 years will be covered under CareShield Life – a long-term care insurance that provides basic financial support should you become severely disabled. Private insurers also offer supplements that give you higher and additional payouts on top of your monthly CareShield Life payouts. Insurance is a long-term commitment. The plan you choose should be geared towards your protection needs and affordability.
It’s now or never!
Thirty may be a good time to reassess your career. Ask yourself if what you’re doing now is moving you closer to your dream. This may help you decide whether to stay in the same field or explore something new where your talents could be put to better use.
If you want to start your own business or make a career switch, your 30s may be a good time. Aside from the fact that you’ll have acquired work experience, becoming an entrepreneur at this life stage will give your business enough runway to develop and turn a profit. Leverage on the resources available to you, like various government grants for start-ups and your SkillsFuture credits that allow you to pursue courses at subsidised rates. To see the light at the end of the tunnel, you have to make the first step, even if the path currently seems murky. Take one baby step at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is success.
Don’t just save. Invest.
It’s never too early to start planning your retirement. In fact, you shouldn’t wait till you’re in your 30s as you may have more financial responsibilities by then. The first step is to figure out your retirement goals. Simply use a retirement calculator for an estimation of how much to stash away for retirement based on your ideal retirement lifestyle. Once you have an estimate, consult your financial adviser about a suitable plan. Or, drop us your details using the form below, and we’ll get in touch with you to guide you towards making an informed decision.
Thirty and thriving
Most people spend their 20s figuring out their identity and what they want to do with life. With every passing year, you may gain a little more perspective of who you are and become more comfortable in your own skin. That’s why your 30s are about doing what feeds your soul. You may no longer say ‘yes’ to everything and everyone due to FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). You may have learnt to set boundaries and choose what’s good for you. Most importantly, you may have learnt to prioritise your happiness and overall well-being.