How to be financially independent in your 30s

In many ways your thirties are a pivotal decade. You have usually by now achieved your education goals, are starting to climb the ladder at work, and many in their thirties will start to make the big steps of getting married, buying a house, or having kids.

Because of these huge (expensive) milestones, many will say that achieving financial independence in their thirties isn’t possible. But is that true?

What is financial independence?

Although it is a definition that can be endlessly nuanced for each individual, financial independence is generally taken to mean the ability to establish a steady income and pay for your living expenses for the rest of your life without needing to work.

This can either be achieved through establishing streams of passive income, saving your money for a long time, or investing and living off the interest.

How can I achieve financial independence?

Members of the FIRE community (Financial Independence, Retire Early), a movement initially inspired by the books Your Money or Your Life and Early Retirement Extreme, usually point to three key methods or behaviours that you need to adopt if you want to work towards financial independence.

1.     Aggressive saving

Saving aggressively means saving 50% or more of your monthly earnings. So, assuming constant income and expenses “at a savings rate of 50% it should take 1 year of work to save for 1 year of living expenses”.

It goes hand in hand with cutting your spending and making financial sacrifices now so that you can reap the rewards later on. It's important that if you are going to save a large portion of your savings that you do some research to find the best savings account with the highest rate of interest.

2.     Efficient investment

In order to ensure maximum returns, you need to know your investments inside out. Many people looking to achieve financial independence will look into developing a wide, well balanced portfolio, and diversify their assets in order to mitigate risk.

Whilst the younger you are the more tolerance you have for high risk investments, like some emerging markets or cryptocurrencies, the goal here is to develop a portfolio that will grow steadily in value and incur minimum management fees. It is not a "get rich quick" scheme.

3.     Know your target number

It’s all very well to say that you want financial independence, but what exactly is your magic number; the number that means you are finally independent to devote time to the activities you love?

Sitting down and working out exactly what you need to save in order to draw a realistic income without negatively affecting your capital growth is vitally important. Once you have this magic number you can then arrange your saving, investing, and spending strategies around it in order to ensure that you meet it as soon and as efficiently as possible.

In your thirties you should ideally be earning more than you were at the start of your career, and be in a position where your income is much more regular. Furthermore, as it is a key time in many people’s lives for settling down and getting married you are more likely to be living within a two person unit, meaning that your earning and saving power is effectively doubled.

Because you have these extra resources, and added stability, your thirties can actually be one of the best times of your life to work towards financial independence.

Your capital is at risk, and past performance may not be a reliable  indicator of future results. Oval Money is not permitted to provide  financial advice, and if you have any questions please consult an expert.

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