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Six Things I Hope I Know in My 30′s

I think every lifestyle blog out there has one post titled “What I Wish I Knew in My 20′s.” You’re not a real blog until you have one, I’m told. I’m still in my 20′s, so I thought I’d turn the tables and write a post about things I hope I know when I’m in my 30′s. I’ll probably put in so much effort learning all the things I want to learn for my next decade of life that I’ll forget to learn all the things other bloggers in their 30′s and 40′s told me to learn while I’m still in my 20′s.

For those of you already out of your 20′s, I’d be curious to know how you learned these things. Did you just jump into things like home ownership and parenthood head first, or did you do careful planning and research ahead of time? Did you get your information from friends and relatives, or did you seek advice online?
  1. How to understand the fundamentals of a stock – My stock picking techniques are not complicated. I start with the list of dividend aristocrats and then return to my¬†Scott Adams selection criteria. I’d even consider investing in a dividend aristocrat that I don’t hate (like ABT), or a hated company that isn’t a dividend aristocrat (like PM), but that’s about as wild and crazy as I’d get at this point. When I’m in my 30′s and have a much larger portfolio to play with, it would be fun to set aside a small percentage for investing in stocks based on my own thorough analysis.
  2. What kinds of insurance I need - Term life, whole life, long term care, fire, flood, who knows what else? As a young, healthy, unmarried woman who doesn’t own any property, I don’t even think about this. I know I have disability insurance through work, but that’s about it. When I’m in my 30′s, married, and own a house, insurance will become much more important. Which means I better understand what coverages I need.
  3. The ins and outs of home ownership – People always warn you that owning a house is a lot more work than renting one. You’re responsible for maintenance, insurance, and probably several other things I’m not even aware of yet.
  4. How to write a will – Once I’m married and have children, it would probably be advisable to write a will. As far as I know from watching movies, I can just pull out a fountain pen, write a will on some tea-stained paper, and stash it in my desk drawer, hoping that after I die, someone will find it there. I’m pretty sure in real life I just need to make an appointment with a lawyer and they can write one up for me. (And on that note, in my 30′s I should probably have a lawyer… and an accountant while we’re at it.)
  5. How to teach my children about finances – It seems like most people I know are financially illiterate when they graduate college, regardless of the socioeconomic status of their parents. I’d like for my children to be financially literate when they enter the real world, but how does one go about accomplishing that? Should you give your children an allowance? Should you require them to work throughout school? Should you let them make mistakes or should you bail them out? Should you make them pay for college themselves? Everyone has their own opinions on these matters, and I don’t know that there are any correct answers.
  6. How to teach my children about healthy living – Us childless people often say things like “I won’t let my child eat junk food,” or “my kid won’t spend his nights sitting in front of the TV,” and our friends with children laugh and tell us to “just wait until we have kids.” We all start out with noble goals for how we want to raise our children, but then life gets so busy and children are such a handful that we end up making them boxed mac ‘n cheese and sitting them in front of the TV because making them a healthy meal and playing outside with them is too much effort for an exhausted parent who just wants to collapse into a comfy chair.

2 Responses to Six Things I Hope I Know in My 30′s

  1. Hi GenY. I’m in my early 30′s and will comment on 1-3 above. I don’t kids yet so I haven’t thought about 4-6 much so far.

    1.) I’ve always been good at math and loved making money so it was just natural to gravitate towards trading stocks. I didn’t have a lot of money through high school or college but I always dabbled in some of the latest and most hyped stocks. My goal was to turn a quick profit. I eventually learned that I had fallen into the trap that a lot of investors are in, which is trying to beat the market. I would have been better off buying an index fund like SPY or buying a blue chip company like WMT or JNJ and just holding. The last few years I’ve done a lot more reading on websites such as seeking alpha and done my own research which has led me to a dividend growth strategy that you can find on my blog. I basically only buy companies with a large moat that pay dividends and that have increased their dividends every year at a rate higher than inflation.

    2.) I still don’t feel really educated enough on this one, which is said because I own a business and rental properties. I mainly just shopped rates and different companies while comparing polices to pick the right one for me. I also sought advice from some friends.

    3.) I jumped right into this and its an ongoing learning process. There’s a lot of responsibilities with home ownership as you mentioned. If you ever have a rental then you are also dealing with tenants and leasing/releasing your property along with additional maintenance. There’s also some benefits such as interest and tax write-offs.

    I got a late start to most of these things so I am striving to be much more knowledgeable by 40.

    • Thanks for the comments austinbroker. I have a feeling that most people don’t think about any of this stuff until they hit a crisis and need to deal with it ASAP. I’m sure some of that is to be expected – I can’t plan for everything that life will throw my way – but I don’t do well with surprises, so the more I can learn now, the better!

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