83 Money Moves To Make Before You Are 30 Years Old

by Hank Coleman

Lets face it…there are some things that you need to do now if you want to be rich in the Golden Years of your life.  If you want to retire and eat something other than Ramen noodles and live solely off of your Social Security benefits, you need to start planning for your retirement now.  There are things that you need to do with your money, personal finances, and investing in order to set yourself up for success later in life.  It is a shame that you have to think about these things right after graduating from college and/or entering the workforce, but you do.  The sooner you start making these essential money moves in the early portion of your life, then you will be positioned for success later when you actually have and need money for retirement.

Top 83 Money Moves To Make Right Now….

  1. Stop using credit cards
  2. Pay off your credit cards and other consumer debt
  3. Pay off your credit cards on time and avoid the high late fees
  4. Never have a revolving balance on your credit cards again
  5. Ask for a lower interest rate on your credit cards
  6. Use a charge card you pay off every month and earn rewards points
  7. Start investing in a mutual fund with a Roth IRA
  8. Invest enough in a 401-k to get your company’s matching contribution
  9. Invest in index funds
  10. Invest in no load mutual funds with low fees
  11. Spread your investments around with diversification
  12. Invest using dollar cost averaging
  13. Don’t invest in crazy, exotic investments
  14. If you are going to use a CFP, find one you trust
  15. Bounce ideas off of your CFP
  16. Hire an accountant for your taxes if you get overwhelmed
  17. Have a written monthly budget
  18. Track what you spend ruthlessly every month in order to find places to save
  19. Set financial goals and revisit them often
  20. Double check your W-2 Tax Statements for needed changes
  21. Spend any income tax refund wisely
  22. Change your W-2’s to ensure that you do not get back much in the way of a tax refund
  23. Spend less money than you earn every month
  24. Make all your monthly bills automatic to pay
  25. Check your credit report every year
  26. Protect yourself against identity theft
  27. Safeguard your personal information (on paper & on the internet)
  28. Check all three credit reports when making a large purchase
  29. Understand how your FICO credit score is calculated
  30. Protect your FICO credit score
  31. Stop bouncing checks
  32. Pay yourself first with investments
  33. Start tracking your net worth
  34. Have three to six months of expenses in an emergency fund
  35. Nickname your savings accounts for your goals
  36. Write your goals down
  37. Write notes on those little credit card sleeves to keep you from spending
  38. Save for major purchases
  39. Start saving in January for Christmas
  40. Consider earning a greater rate of return on savings with Peer-to-Peer Lending companies such as Lending Club or Prosper.
  41. Consider investing in Dividend Reinvestment Plans (DRIPS)
  42. Don’t give up on renting an apartment in favor of buying a home
  43. Consider a 15 year mortgage instead of a 30 year one if you can afford it
  44. Negotiate your mortgage interest rate for a huge savings
  45. Check out your neighborhood before moving to a new home
  46. Try to marry the right spouse (divorce is expensive!)
  47. If you are going to buy a new car, buy one, don’t lease
  48. Buy a car with a 48 month note
  49. Don’t buy an automobile extended warranty
  50. Don’t go out to eat every night
  51. Shop at the grocery store with a list and not while you are hungry
  52. Shop around for disability insurance if it is not offered by your employer
  53. Make sure that you have enough life insurance
  54. Consider buying additional term life insurance
  55. Avoid whole life insurance like the plague
  56. Keep your resume polished at all times
  57. Continue to network with peers, coworkers, professors, etc.
  58. Join networking websites like LinkedIn
  59. Learn etiquette for business dinners and interviews
  60. Pick a career as soon as you can
  61. Learn as much as you can about your career and become an expert
  62. Work as hard as you can and don’t shirk at your job
  63. Don’t borrow money from a payday lender
  64. Bundle up your internet, phone, and cable
  65. Use your cell phone and skip the landline
  66. Do not use ATMs that are not your bank’s
  67. Buy generic medication
  68. Practice being frugal wherever you can
  69. Be cautious when making home improvements in order to ensure you will earn your money back when you sell
  70. Don’t beat yourself up about your financial mistakes that you make. Learn from them.
  71. Don’t buy gold from late night television
  72. Take a brown bag lunch to work
  73. Continue learning and earning education, credentials, certifications, etc.
  74. Don’t cash out a Roth IRA before you are 59 ½ years old
  75. Try not to take out a 401-k loan unless absolutely necessary
  76. Teach personal finance skills to your children as soon as you can
  77. Open a 529 college savings plan for your children when they are born
  78. Buy used books, movies, CDs, and video games from websites like Half.com
  79. Earn points for everyday purchases you make through websites like Upromise
  80. Use coupons where you can
  81. Read as many books and educational materials as you can
  82. Follow great people on Twitter
  83. Read as many blogs as you can

Why eighty-three money moves? There is a few to add I am sure. Which tips did I miss that people need to know before they are 30 years-old?

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Ken December 29, 2009 at 8:22 am

Save something from every paycheck.

Ben December 29, 2009 at 10:42 am

How about some old PF standbys:
1. Spend less than you earn
2. Pay yourself first

Daniel December 29, 2009 at 11:16 am

I’m at about 41 right now. At 22, that’s not bad. For the ones I qualify for (not the mortgage or the car ones) I think I’m doing pretty well. I won’t stop using credit cards.

Also, I can’t agree more about 49. Many extended warranties, especially on electronics and phones are simply unnecessary and will cost you a significant amount.

Matt December 30, 2009 at 7:24 am

I’m a little past the target range of this post, but there are lessons here for every age group.
The one thing, though, the sooner you master these personal finance tactics, the sooner you become your own master.
And one more thing, you young whippersnappers, I used to walk uphill–both ways–in the snow to get to the bank. (Sorry, I had to add that.)

Zach Smith December 31, 2009 at 4:22 pm

I guess I sort of understand your premise behind #1, but I don’t think It’s entirely fair. I’m 22 and getting ready to graduate from college (and get married). I have 2 credit cards. One I got when I graduated from high school and have one subscription payment a month only to keep the credit for purposes of my credit score (longest card, increased available credit). Then I have a cash back rewards card that I use daily. Both cards are paid off in full every month. I don’t have to worry about carrying cash, I help my credit score, and I even get a (meager) amount of cash back. What’s the downside?

I know plenty of people my age don’t use cards this way, but I know there are also a reasonable number who do. Wouldn’t a better rule be “Don’t carry a balance on credit cards.” I know you mention it elsewhere, but a hard and fast rule against using credit cards seems over the top.

Tom L January 1, 2010 at 12:48 am

54. Unless you have dependents, you don’t need life insurance. Period.

Learn how to DIY for car and home repairs and your savings can be huge.
I estimate that each $100 I would spend on a handyman, mechanic or contractor costs $150 in pre-tax earnings (accounting for Fed income tax rate + payroll tax + state tax.) If you can DIY, your costs are only for materials plus any sales tax.

Mohan Arun L January 1, 2010 at 2:35 am

Instead of ‘stop using credit cards’ it could be ‘use credit cards wisely’, they are a facility, not a one-size fits-all solution for mounting purchases upon purchases upon credit cards.

Tread Softly January 3, 2010 at 1:11 pm

I hope you don’t mind if I use this, meme style, in a blog post (with a link back to you, of course). If you do mind, just let me know and I’ll take it down 🙂

dave January 4, 2010 at 9:49 pm

@Mohan Arun L: I think the “use credit cards wisely” mentality is what leads people into trouble. If people instead used the mentality of “an emergency fund is essential” then perhaps people could realize they don’t “need” credit cards.

Credit cards enter the picture when the money runs out. Eventually the credit cards run out too. I think most people would be better off if they just acted like they were at the “out of credit” stage when they run out of money in the first place.

If one is simply using credit cards to take advantage of discounts, rewards, or to build their credit, I see no problem with it. There are other ways to do the latter and the former is only worth it if that person is disciplined- creditors count on the opposite.

Tim January 5, 2010 at 4:19 am

If we’re talking about your 20’s, then go to college should probably be number 1.

Hydroponics Supplies March 9, 2010 at 5:23 am

I really had a great time with your post! I am looking forward to read more blog post regarding this! Well written!

Mindy August 17, 2010 at 12:42 pm

If you ever want to get a loan for anything (car, house), it’s actually important to build a credit history. Telling people not to use credit cards is silly. If you have a budget and stick to it, and pay your balance every month, using credit cards to pay for those purchases is a good idea. First and most importantly, it builds a history of good credit. (The credit score is a complicated thing and one shouldn’t simply go out and apply for a ton of cards – but using 1 or 2 cards consistently and paying on time is the best way to build credit. See myfico.com for more information.) Second, there are definitely perks – cash back, miles, etc. – I get between 1% and 5% cash back on every purchase I make with credit cards. Third, it’s convenient, especially for buying online. Fourth, it’s safer than carrying cash – credit card companies can predict you against fraud etc. And if you just use debit cards and someone steals your debit card, you’re much worse off since it’s going to take a while to get that all worked out with the bank (and meanwhile you have no money!). Fifth, there are other advantages like longer warranties on purchases, etc. Sixth, many credit card companies (like Discover) have tools to help you analyze your spending. Seventh, having a record of purchases is really helpful for everything from taxes to budgeting to returns; you can kind of get that if you use checks but bank interfaces are much poorer. The issue is not credit cards per se – it’s people not sticking to a budget.

Phoenix September 17, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Yes, as a licensed financial person I have to disagree on the “no credit card and no revolving debt”
If you have no debt or balance on your cards. You show the credit card rating services that you “can not handle debt” (I have been told this by numerous institutions from banks, credit unions , Experion * Trans-America to lending agents)
I had a client with perfect credit, paid in cash, never had a balance owed, had over $3Million in a portfolio and when she tried to get a home improvement loan. Was denied!
When she tried to get the level of her $15,000 in credit line raised. Denied.
Eventually she was given an extra $5,000 and was told that once she had a history with the $20,000. She would get more.
In other words.
They wanted to make sure she could “handle it!”
Credit, like all business/financial creations. Needs to be managed. Not abused and not taken for granted.
Try and be a small contractor without credit line or a small one and you will find out its next to impossible.
Still some good tips, BUT like most advice… seek an expert, infact, a few.
Before you follow your whole life and wonder what “went wrong”


Julia January 28, 2011 at 9:59 am

I’m at about 31 right now. At 22, that’s not bad. For the ones I qualify for (not the mortgage or the car ones) I think I’m doing pretty well. I won’t stop using credit cards. Save something from every paycheck.

thesis paper writing April 6, 2011 at 6:25 am

83 Money Moves To Make Before You Are 30 Years Old <—————– hmmm 🙂

Boss May 9, 2011 at 1:11 pm

You missed a few items which i think are key
1. Invest early (If you havent started, it time to start now)
2. Invest in Stocks – Long term
3. Invest in Metals
4. Dont Save money (Yes saving erodes money due to inflation, always invest money and not save)

Innovative Insurance August 6, 2011 at 3:08 am

Now is the time to make certain money or personal finance moves while you are young before it is too late. If you want to retire right, you need to start managing your money well now!

cheapprom September 14, 2011 at 3:38 am

I’m a little past the target range of this post, but there are lessons here for every age group.
The one thing, though, the sooner you master these personal finance tactics, the sooner you become your own master.

Megan May 20, 2016 at 3:08 am

A must read and you don’t have to it totally but you’ll totally be cooler if you do. 30 things you should definitely do before 30. Thanks for sharing this!

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