Finances in Your 30s:
A Start-to-Finish Guide

From saving for your first home to investing in your future.

When you were in your 20s, it was probably all you could do to keep to a budget and live on a starter salary. But now that you're in your 30s, you're probably starting to get a leg up on all the goals you've set for yourself and what that means for your finances. That might mean growing in your career, moving in with someone, starting a family or gearing up to buy a home.

But no matter how much your income has grown, there are still five basic things you can do with your money: save, spend, grow, protect and give it away. As you navigate to new life stages, your priorities are going to shift, so now's a good time to check in on where you are with your finances in these five categories—and move toward your goals with confidence.

5 ways to make the most
of your money

5 ways to make the most of your money graphic

Save your money

Create an Emergency Fund.

Create an Emergency Fund. First, have an emergency fund for unexpected expenses like car repairs, surprise vet bills and other costs you can't predict. A good rule of thumb is to have, at the very least, one month of your take-home pay (or that of the highest earner in your household, if you're part of a couple) stashed away.

If you already checked that box in your 20s, then it's time to get ambitious: Start working your way up to having six months saved. Make sure that money is in an account that's easily accessible and where your cash won't go down in value—a high-yield savings account does the trick. Remember, you should leave that cash untouched unless an emergency strikes.

Could you cover a
$400 emergency expense?

Map of the US with 50% in the middle
of Americans would have to borrow money, sell something or use their credit cards to cover a $400 unexpected expense.