Five things women in their 30s need to know about money
Reaching the big 3-0 is a time for celebration. You’ve made it through your teens and 20s and it’s time for the next stage of your life to start - but what does that mean in terms of your personal finances?
During your thirties, your career is progressing and that means you’ll be earning more money; you may own your first home, or be very close to doing so, and you could be in a relationship be that co-habiting, a civil partnership, or marriage.
There are also children to throw into the mix, and babies and children can make a significant dent to our finances, and all other aspects of our lives.
While kids aren’t for everyone, the most common age for women to have children is when they’re in their thirties.
Having children at this stage can be a bonus, though.
“If you’re earning more by the time you have children, you are also in a more stable financial position,” says Sarah Coles, Senior Personal Finance Analyst for Hargreaves Lansdown.
“It doesn’t just mean it’s easier to keep on top of everyday bills when your costs go through the roof, but it also means there’s more chance you'll be able to maintain long term plans such as your pension.”
So, what should women in their thirties be focusing on when it comes to their finances? The following areas are worth paying a close eye on.
We are five times more likely to go off on long-term sick leave than die during our working lives
Protect your income
Whether you’re the main earner, a joint earner, or your partner is the breadwinner, your income matters.
If you were to become too ill to work, or, in the worst-case scenario, if you were to die, how would anyone dependent on you cope?
Could bills still be paid or would they struggle financially?
It may seem grim to consider, but it's crucial given the fact that figures from brokers Lifesearch show that we are five times more likely to go off on long-term sick leave than die during our working lives.
What’s more, just one in eight of us have six months’ worth of savings stashed away to cover the cost of being out of work.
And it's not enough to rely solely on the government for help: Statutory Sick Pay is just £96.35 a week.
Not exactly enough to cover all your expenses.
What about all the jobs that you do around the house such as cooking, cleaning and childcare?
If you’re unsure of the worth of these often forgotten about jobs, check out Compare the Market’s handy Unpaid Work Calculator to help you calculate their worth in financial terms.
And just for clarity: Income protection can provide a regular income if you’re unable to work, life insurance pays out a sum of money on death, while critical illness pays out if you’re diagnosed with a specific illness.
Try comparing a few options here for starters.
Get help with your first home
There are lots of government schemes to help get you on the property ladder. From shared ownership, which lets you buy a home with a small deposit, to 95% mortgages.
With shared ownership, you will own part of the property and pay rent on the remainder and can increase your share when you’ve saved more money.
There’s also a Lifetime ISA (LISA), which you can use for a first home or your retirement. You can save up to £4,000 per year, and the government tops this up by £1,000. You can only open one while you’re in your thirties.
Cut the cost of childcare
Childcare costs are huge, but there are some ways to lower the costs.
The government’s tax-free childcare scheme pays up to £2,000 per child, per year.
Both parents need to earn less than £100,000 to qualify.
For three and four-year-olds, up to 30 hours of free childcare is also on offer to some.
Top up your retirement fund
Women will need to save an average of £185,000 more during their working life to enjoy the same retirement income as men, according to research from Scottish Widows, so the earlier you start, the better.
Your employer will have a work-based scheme you can join, and it will usually match or beat your contributions.
To get the full state pension you’ll need 30 years of National Insurance (NI) contributions.
If there are any years you aren’t working, such as if you’ve taken time off to have children, you can still claim NI credits via the Gov.UK website, which will count towards your NI record.
Cohabiting couples need extra protection
If you’re not married, or in a civil partnership, you need to take an extra look at your financial situation.
Those who live together, or cohabit, don’t automatically have any right to a partner’s finances.
This means if you have a long-time partner and you share costs such as a mortgage, household bills or childcare costs, if one of you were to die you may not automatically inherit anything from your partner.
A will can fix this, and you can also state what you would like to happen with your children if you have them.
If not, a court can decide where the money goes and who looks after your children.
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Don’t forget that while you may think that this article is brilliant, it is intended for information purposes only and should not be mistaken for financial advice or recommendations.