The 5 Financial Conversations People in Their 30s Should Have with Their Advisor

The 5 Financial Conversations People in Their 30s Should Have with Their Advisor

December 06, 2017

Throughout life, people experience unique milestones, including financial needs and goals. Individuals in their 30’s have different priorities than they will in their 40’s and 50’s. This is an important decade for developing strategies and money habits that will follow them through their later years. As a result, there are a few key conversations you should have with your advisor when you’re in your 30’s.

1. Establishing Long-Term Goals

For many people, it’s difficult to start saving for the future in their 20’s. So, the 30’s is an important decade for you to learn about your money values and think about what you want to accomplish with your money in the future.

Schedule a goals and vision discussion with your advisor once you hit your 30’s. During this meeting, you and your advisor can discuss how you envision your life ten, twenty, or thirty years in the future. Where will you be in your career? Where will you live? What will your lifestyle ideally look like? By thinking about your goals and visions, you can have a better idea of what kind of financial actions you need to take to pursue those objectives. This can also be a good time to start working with your advisor to build a financial plan that outlines both your short and long-term goals.

2. Developing Good Spending and Saving Habits

A budget is one of the most basic money management tools available and can also be the most effective. However, according to a Gallup Economy and Personal Finance Survey, only 32% of Americans, less than one in three, actually use a budget. The earlier you develop good spending and saving habits, the more on track you can be as you pursue your goals.

An advisor can help you develop a budget that balances your lifestyle needs as well as your financial goals. This can include saving to build an emergency fund and understanding how to enjoy your hard-earned money without going overboard.

3. Saving for Retirement

It’s never too early to start saving for retirement. Generally speaking, I recommend my clients save 15% of their pre-tax income toward retirement, or $15,000 for every $100,000 they make a year. While the earlier and the more they save the better, 15% is a reasonable number for most people to fit into their budget. It works well because it is enough to build a nest egg, but not so much that it will hurt them in the present.

For many people, their only goal is to contribute up to the match on their company’s 401(k) plan. While this is a good goal, it is probably not enough. Along with contributing at least up to the company match on their 401(k), your advisor can help you evaluate your Roth IRA opportunities, if you’re eligible, or other retirement savings options.

4. Considering Life Insurance Needs

When planning for the future, many people neglect to consider life insurance’s role in their financial strategies, especially when they’re in their 30’s and old age seems far away. One study shows that life insurance falls seventh in financial priority, and less than 40% of Americans are worried about a lack of coverage. Another study showed that while 60% of Americans say they own a life insurance policy, nearly half of them don’t have sufficient coverage to address their specific needs.  Further, while a LendEDU life insurance survey found that 54% of Americans own a life insurance policy, the study also found that 33% of those policy holders don't fully understand how their policy works. Having a conversation with your financial advisor to understand life insurance and the policy you need can go a long way. 

As many people in their 30’s are just starting to build their wealth, it may make sense to purchase life insurance to protect their family should they unexpectedly pass away. An advisor can help you conduct a Needs Analysis to help you understand how much coverage from which you may benefit to protect your family adequately.

5. Saving for a Child’s College Education

In the busyness of life and never-ending financial pressures, it is all too easy to put saving for your child’s college education on the back burner. But when a college education in the U.S. can cost upwards of $334,000, it’s a good idea to start saving for your child’s education as early as possible.

When you’re in your 30’s, you can take advantage of time to reap the benefits of the time value of money. For example, if you put $100 a month toward your child’s college education, after 17 years’ time, you would have saved $20,400. But that same $100 a month would be worth over $32,000 if it had generated a 5% annual rate of return.* Talk with your advisor on how you can balance saving for retirement and saving for college, even if it’s in small monthly increments.

*The rate of return on investments will vary over time, particularly for longer-term investments. Investments that offer the potential for higher returns also carry a higher degree of risk. Actual results will fluctuate. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

Getting Started

Your 30’s can be an exciting time to take the first steps on your financial journey. By setting the groundwork for appropriate savings and spending strategies, you can feel more confident with your financial future and start building a trusted relationship with your financial advisor that lasts for many years to come.

To learn more about how I work with my clients or the conversations I have with them, I encourage you to check out my blog at

About Mike Loo

Mike Loo is an independent financial advisor with more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. His mission is to provide a meaningful impact on the lives of clients and the people they care most about, help them make educated decisions with their money, and build a strong financial foundation for both themselves and their next generation. Mike is committed to meeting a high standard of excellence, taking the time to listen to clients’ needs, and designing strategies that aim to help clients save money and reduce debt. He seeks to fit a client’s investments into their life and educate them so they’ll understand their investments. To learn more about how Mike may be able to help, connect with him on LinkedIn, call his office at (949) 221-8105 x 2128, or email him at