How to not go broke in your 30s?

“Stop making debt and going broke and calling that “living”. That’s not living, it’s lying.” – Michelle Walker-Wade

Personal finance is one of the important aspects of our lives. If you have to be successful in your life, then you would have to take care of your finances.

Often many people neglect this part of their lives and only in their later half of lives realize they should have given more importance to it.

It’s not the same world as 30-40 years back today. We live in very technologically advanced times. There are a lot of distractions around us and it is quite easy to get sucked into them.

The purchasing power of the younger generation has also increased compared to half a century ago. This is a very positive sign. But a lot of young people do not pay attention to their personal finance and get into a lot of debt.

Generally, in your 30s a lot of things will be going on in your life. Most of us will get married and have kids at this age. We are also more or less in a stable job or get a good hang of business.

You’d think then naturally we should be able to build wealth and start saving up for our retirement, right? On the contrary, many people go broke in their 30s

1. Do not buy too much house

Buying a house is one of the most important milestones in one’s life. It is as much an emotional decision as a financial one.

Although one cannot live all his life renting out, it is also important not to rush buying a house. Investing in a house is probably the single largest investment we do in our lifetime.

Many times we buy a house for all the wrong reasons. We want to keep up with the Joneses, we believe buying a house will give us financial security or we assume we will be living in a single house our whole lives.

Remember – no one and no one will pay the monthly EMIs of your home loan except you! Do not get influenced by peer pressure and buy a house that you regret later. Do not become house poor.

Over a long period of time, buying a house makes sense and it is also an important tool in your overall wealth accumulation. But do not buy a house if you are not financially ready.

As a general rule of thumb, put down a minimum of 20% as a down payment. Also, make sure the monthly EMI of your home loan does not exceed 1/4th of your household income.


Another mistake a lot of people commit is to put too much money on wheels and motors i.e. cars.

Although having a car is sometimes justifiable, the ease of services Uber & OLA  provide cannot be overseen. You can book a taxi literally at any time of the day with these services.

Moreover, the kind of traffic and pollution we have to deal with nowadays rarely makes a strong case for having a car.

As per an estimate, a brand new car loses 10% of its value the moment you take it out of the showroom. It loses 25% of its value in the first year and nearly 40% of its total value in the first 2 years itself. Those are some staggering numbers!!

If you want to buy a car anyway, then make sure it is well within your budget. In general, the total value of cars in your home should not be more than 50% of your annual household income.

3. Be on the same page with your spouse

It is important to be on the same page with your spouse when it comes to finances.

Money is one of the primary reasons most couples fight and most marriages break. There are numerous instances where a spouse blames his or her significant other as a spendthrift.

If you want to build wealth and have a successful financial life, then you have to be in sync with your partner. It is good to share goals, talk about what you would like to achieve financially with your partner.

If both people are working outside the house, then some prefer to combine their income and spend as a single account. This depends on couples but it is important you talk this through.

If there is any big expense to be incurred, then you have to first inform your spouse and understand how they feel about it. It is much easier to build wealth if you both share the same vision and goal.

4. save for retirement

With medical science being so advance, even the life span of humans has increased. It is very likely that you will survive till 75-80 years. Assuming, you retire at 55-60 years, you would have to live 20 years without a monthly paycheck.

How many of us are truly prepared for this? We all think retirement is so far away, why start saving up right now, isn’t it?

You couldn’t be more wrong!

Saving up for retirement is one of the most overlooked goals of the younger generation. When we are in our 30s, everything seems possible and we feel our bodies will stay as healthy & energetic even in the 60s.

But when it’s time to hang up our boots and start our golden years, we get to know that our nest egg would not be sufficient. We will be relying on others to sail through life during our older years.

If you start saving from an early age towards retirement, then you will take advantage of the compounding and end up with a sufficient nest egg. It is always easy to save small from an early age rather than save a huge chunk of money later on.


“Put time on your side. Start saving early and save regularly. Live modestly and don’t touch the money that’s been set aside.” – Burton G. Malkiel

Money is one of the visceral things in life. Of course, money is not everything but it is one of the important commodities.

It is likely that you are in a high paying job today. It might not be the same case 10 years down the line. Not every one of us is working for the government either!!

Save a decent amount every month. Invest that amount intelligently.

Just because you can purchase any item it does not mean you have to buy it. Learn to delay gratification. 

Stay on a budget and learn to live well below your means. Remember personal finance is as much behavior as it is a disclipline. 

Wouldn’t you be more independent and stress-free, if you know you have enough money to lead a comfortable life?

Wouldn’t you pursue the things you are passionate about, if you do not have a monthly EMI to worry about?


About the author

Bharath Sirgur

I am an IT professional by the day and a blogger at night. I am interested in personal development and motivational topics.

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  • Well researched article Bharath.
    With power comes responsibility. When we aquire purchasing power , we need to financially plan for present and future.
    Thank you for bringing all key points for personal financial planning.
    Kudos to you.

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