As a Singaporean, hitting the big 3-0 often comes with the sudden realisation that life is starting to move faster than you think.
You start to feel the physical changes, you have more responsibilities and the next decade will probably be where you spend the most money on huge acquisitions, such as your first home.
While you could still live paycheck to paycheck in your 20s, by the time you are 30, marriage plans, having a child and paying for a home loan all require careful financial planning.
Here are 5 of the worst money mistakes GET.com has collated to help you avoid making them during your 30s.
1. Not Having An Emergency Fund
Why would you need an emergency fund? Well, with increased financial responsibility, you need to be prepared for circumstances where you might find your regular income source being cut.
For instance, how are you going to service your $2000 monthly home loan repayment if you meet with an unfortunate retrenchment?
Or how about coughing up a five-figure sum for an unexpected medical crisis which puts you in the hospital?
Most financial experts advise setting up an emergency fund that amounts to about 6 months worth of living expenses.
By the time you are 30, you should have been able to save up this amount, if not, it’s probably time to get down to it.
2. Spending To Keep Up With Appearances
Living beyond our means is a common money mistake a lot of people make – from buying luxurious watches to branded handbags, who hasn’t been tempted to do it? This is especially true if your peers are living it up with their appearances as well.
While you might be asking yourself how your friends are able to afford these luxuries while you struggle to buy them on credit, here’s the sober truth – they might be in debt as well.
In fact, statistics from June 2015 have shown that the number of consumers who missed two or more months of credit card payments, overdrafts or personal loans rose 32 per cent from the corresponding number of debtors in 2011.
So why bother living a lifestyle that’s beyond your means? If you’re not earning enough to cover your expenses, your lifestyle will catch up with you sooner or later, causing all sorts of negative consequences later.
3. Borrowing To Finance Your Wedding
While weddings in other countries are usually simple affairs, a Singaporean wedding is quite the opposite, involving spending on elaborate ceremonies and dinner banquets, rentals of multiple gowns and luxurious photoshoots. In fact, it’s pretty common for the total cost of a wedding to come up to an average of $30,000.
It’s definitely not a small amount, and perhaps because of societal pressure, many couples continue to go this route instead of having something simpler. This makes them have to resort to incurring credit card debt or taking out a personal loan to finance the wedding.
Getting in debt could be one of the worst things you could do to your new marriage! So think rationally about the consequences and try your best to avoid borrowing at all cost!
4. Neglecting Insurance
Insurance in general – health insurance, life insurance, home loan insurance and critical illness insurance – often gets put on the back burner. Although in Singapore we have our Medishield Life that provides basic insurance coverage, it’s not enough, given the high cost of healthcare here.
While you should have started getting some insurance coverage in your 20s, it’s not too late to start now either. But note that the later you start, the higher your chances of having exclusions for pre-existing conditions, and premiums rise with age as well.
During your 30s when you have more financial responsibility, it is prudent to get insurance so that in case of any medical crisis, you will be able to continue paying for other important things such as your home loan and children’s education.
5. Not Planning For Retirement
I’m not sure if you are acquainted with the CPF Life scheme, but looking at the minimum sum figures and monthly payouts, I’m doubting it would be comfortable enough for my retirement years.
Thus, there’s always room to do some planning for your retirement now, even if it looks far away. Start to think about your retirement and make appropriate plans for it.
This should not just include savings, as the value of your money in the account will not beat inflation rate.
You should probably seek out an advisor who can help you manage your money from a portfolio perspective as at your current age, you will still be able to make some more risky investments to take advantage of higher returns.