Career Advice

Advice from a 30 Something: How I Wish I Managed My Finances in My 20s

posted on November 12, 2015 | by Amanda Holstein

Advice from a 30 Something: How I Wish I Managed My Finances in My 20s


It’s about time we got some advice from an experienced and successful thirty-something, don’t you think? I do my best, but there’s only so much a twenty-something can offer another twenty-something. So I’m excited to introduce you to Erin Hiemstra of Apartment 34. She’ll be sharing her worldly, thirty-something advice with us every now and then, keeping us in the loop on what to expect in this next phase of life! Today seriously gave me a wake up call when it comes to managing my finances in my 20s. Take a look!


Thinking about money and financial planning can be a daunting thing – no matter your age or stage in life. But getting your arms around your financial goals early is only going to help you. While I would never claim to be any sort of financial expert, and I’ve long left my 20’s behind, there are a few lessons I feel are worth imparting!

30-something-financesimage via

Save Early, Save Consistently

Everyone knows the cliché of saving for a rainy day, but it really is all too true. You just never know what could befall you. A lost job {happened to me}, a smashed car {happened to me} or a sudden increase in your rent {happened to me!}. If you begin setting aside a consistent portion of your pay for a rainy day fund, you won’t be caught begging your family for a bail out. The general recommendation is 5% of your base pay. If you can, get your employer to send that portion of your check to a separate account – then you’ll never even miss it!

Think About the Long Term

I realize it can be nearly impossible to think about retirement when you’re just starting your career, but starting a retirement account from the outset will only set you up for long-term success. So many companies offer 401(k) benefits these days. If you don’t take advantage of them you’re literally leaving free money on the table. If you’re 25, you need to invest only about $3,600 per year to end up with $1 million by the time you’re 65 if your investments return 8 percent per year. And if my parents current experience is any indication, retirement is grand. You want to be able to enjoy it!

Avoid Those Store Credit Cards

You know the drill. You walk into [insert name of any major store here] and they offer you 20% off your purchase if you sign up for that pre-approved store credit card today! I realize it’s tempting. You want to save on a big purchase. But what they don’t tell you is the massive interest rate {like 25%} that often accompanies a company credit card. Having multiple credit accounts also impacts your credit score. And your credit score comes into play more often then you think – when applying for a new lease, trying to buy a car or if you eventually want to buy a house!


The impulse buy is quite the temptress. It can be so easy to pop a must have onto a credit card with the plan to curb your spending next month. Or next month. Or next month. Be it an amass of the latest Zara collection or that pair of Dior boots that you just have to have, shoving yourself into debt is just never worth it. Eventually push will come to shove and you will have to dig your way out. It can be painful and if not careful it can be almost impossible. So instead, buy fewer. Buy better. I always say buy the very best that you can afford. If you can stay out of debt in your 20s, your 30-year-old self will thank you!

Head on over to Apartment 34 to check out my beauty advice,
and stay tuned for more ridiculously helpful advice from a 30 something!