The quarter-life checklist — 5 financial goals for your 30s

The choices you make in this decade will determine your financial freedom and security in the years to come.


Investing the right amount at the right juncture of one’s life can go a long way into securing one’s future
Investing the right amount at the right juncture of one’s life can go a long way into securing one’s future

Many of us have lived dangerously in our twenties, barely stretching our paychecks through the month and getting away with impulsive career moves. When you hit 30, however, there’s no escaping certain realities anymore. Most professionals find stability and success at this age, but it also brings longer hours and added pressures. This is followed by several changes in the personal life, with marriage and family creating new responsibilities and priorities. Consequently, the financial decisions you make during this decade will impact not just you but also the future and security of your loved ones.

If you’re looking to get serious about money matters this year, these are the five basic financial targets to tick off in your 30s.

1. Step up the investments

If there’s one thing almost all financial experts agree on, it’s that you must learn to make your money work for you. The earlier you start putting away money into fixed investment schemes, the larger is the corpus you stand to gain on maturity—all thanks to the timely magic of compounding. Furthermore, based on your risk appetite, your income should be spread across market-linked instruments, such as mutual funds, equities and stocks, and real estate, and traditional plans such as provident funds, and bank deposits. Choosing the right investments also helps you maximize on tax-savings as your income grows during this period.

If you’re unsure or new to investing, an insurance-plus-investment plan is a good place to start. The HDFC Life Click2Invest ULIP plan allows you to invest in a choice of eight funds with flexible premium options. For higher returns, there are aggressive equity funds, such as Equity Plus, Diversified Equity Fund, Blue Chip Fund, and Opportunities Fund. These can be balanced out with low-risk options such as Conservative Fund, Bond Fund, and Income Fund, to create a personalized investment bouquet as per your risk tolerance.

2. Plan for doomsday

Keeping a contingency plan ready should be among one of your first priorities in the 30s. While most of us are likely to enjoy a certain degree of stability at this age, it’s still important to plan for eventualities like meeting with an accident or losing your job. The simplest way to do this is to calculate your family expenses for six months (including rent, bills, and any EMIs you’re paying off) and keep this sum handy, either in a savings account that you don’t touch or a short-term deposit that you can terminate with minimum loss.

3. Review your insurance plans

Most of us begin with a basic term insurance plan in our 20s, more as a tax-saving mechanism than an actual security measure. In your 30s, however, the financial security of your family will be a primary concern, so it’s essential to review your policies as necessary. The younger and healthier you are the lesser your premiums will be, both for life and health insurance policies. Of all the things targeted by inflation, medical expenditure in India promises to be a major one, making adequate health cover an essential part of any future plan.

Apart from financial protection, a wise insurance portfolio will also allow you to meet upcoming life goals, such as the education of your children or buying a home. The HDFC Life Click2Protect Plus Term plan, for example, gives you the flexibility to increase insurance cover during key milestones of your life like marriage and child birth. Furthermore, it also lets you choose income options for your family after death, such as monthly payments for an assured period. Similarly, taking on a Child Education Plan can guard you against spiralling higher education costs whenever the time arises.

4. Build your retirement chest

Thanks to longer life expectancies, retirement planning in present times is no small matter. Even if you choose to retire at a conventional age of 60, it still means financing the next 10-15 years of your life at the very least. Don’t just depend on your Employee Provident Fund; invest in a mix of plans that offer risk-free returns as well as market-linked schemes that allow you to grow your wealth. To ensure financial dignity post retirement, it’s essential to invest at least 15% of your income in organized pension plans with annuities and health benefits to suit your personal needs. The earlier you work out a plan, the more time you give for your corpus to build.

5. Develop a healthy financial routine:

While the higher salaries you command in your 30s offer more flexibility to fund your desires, this is also the period to learn to prioritize on your expenditures. Maintain an expense tracker to avoid overspending on luxuries you can do without and set practical limits on monthly spending. To prevent accruing credit card debts, set up an auto-debit feature every month that deducts your entire bill from a linked account. In addition, use all additional bonuses and short-term windfalls to systematically pay off home or education loans, or any personal loan you may have required in the past. Staying debt-free and maintaining a steady investment-expenditure ration are habits that can go a long way in ensuring financial freedom in the future.

Given the widespread lack of financial awareness in India, it’s common for young professionals to postpone important financial decisions until it’s too late. Don’t hesitate to consult financial experts for optimal ways to make your wealth grow; they will not only be able to guide you on ideal investment plans but also keep you updated with new savings and tax-deduction schemes.