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How to Manage Money in Your 30s

Your 30s can be an exciting but challenging decade. While you may be advancing your career and earning more money, you’re also likely juggling more financial responsibilities.

Many in this age group are married, given the median age at first marriage is in the late 20s, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Parenthood may also be a reality, since the average age for women having their first baby is around 26, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. And don’t forget the house — the median age for first-time home buyers is 32, according to the National Association of Realtors.

How to handle all of this financially can be a bit overwhelming, says Brian McCann, founder of Bootstrap Capital LLC in San Jose, California.

“The bigger the life challenge, the more likely that we have not been trained for it,” says McCann, a certified financial planner who works primarily with clients in their 30s and 40s.

Beyond building a budget for yourself or your family, experts recommend 30-somethings take these steps to successfully manage their money.

Invest beyond your 401(k)

Save for retirement. You hear it over and over because it’s really important. And with the benefit of compound interest, the earlier you start, the better. You may also have heard that if your employer offers a retirement plan, you should take advantage of it. But beyond that?

“The majority of my younger clients know contributing to their 401(k) or company-sponsored plan to at least receive the company match is a great idea,” says Sam Farrington, a financial planner in Omaha, Nebraska, who writes about money and minimalism at the blog Add By Subtraction. “But many are unsure of what to do after that. Should you completely max out your 401(k) or instead invest a portion in a Roth IRA?”

Farrington advises investing in some combination of 401(k), traditional IRA and Roth IRA accounts. Money put into the latter is after taxes.

One approach Farrington recommends is to first ensure you receive the full company match on your 401(k), and then contribute as much as you can to a Roth IRA. The annual maximum is $5,500 for those who fall within the income limits — currently $118,000 for those who file as single and $186,000 for married couples filing jointly. If you are over the IRA limit, divert your contributions back to the 401(k).

» MORE: Are you on track for retirement? Use this calculator to find out

This approach assumes you have a company-sponsored plan at your disposal. If you’re among those without one, open an IRA on your own via an online broker. Robo-advisors like Betterment and Wealthfront use an algorithm to build and manage your account, automatically investing for you based on your age, retirement goals and risk tolerance. That tolerance should be high in your 30s, when you’re still a few decades off from retirement.

Regardless of your plan, contribute what you can afford and bump up the amount as your income increases — adding a percent or two each time you get a raise — with a goal of setting 10% to 15% of your annual income aside for retirement.

As you earn more, set priorities

In addition to increasing your retirement savings as you make more money, be sure to keep your spending in check.

The average monthly budget for those 35 to 44 years old is $5,445, compared with $4,339 for those 25 to 34, according to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data by Bank of America.

Don’t fall into the trap of spending more just because you earn more. Instead, be intentional about your spending. Work with your partner, if you have one, to determine what is important to you and your family.

“Come up with five or six things that are really important,” McCann says. “That makes setting up your finances easier. There will inevitably be trade-offs, and you can always bounce them off your values.”

A certified financial planner can help you set up a plan that takes into account your financial priorities.

Savings should be among those priorities. If you don’t have an emergency fund, start there.

It can take a while to fully stock your emergency fund, so work in increments. Aim for $500, then $2,000 and eventually build it to cover three to six months of living expenses.

This will help you focus on other goals, like saving for the down payment on a new house or for college if you have kids. You should do this while also saving for retirement.

“When you get into your 30s and 40s you need to juggle multiple financial goals, and that’s really tough to get your head around,” McCann says.

He recommends using separate accounts for each goal. So an online savings account for your down payment or home repair fund, another for a new car and a third for your dream vacation.

“You can measure progress against a specific goal,” McCann says. “It’s great positive reinforcement.”

Try to kick college savings into gear as soon as you have kids, using a 529 plan or other tax-advantaged plan. With an IRA, for example, you can take out money for qualified education expenses without penalty.

Like retirement savings, the sooner you start the more time your money has to grow. So contribute what you can, without sacrificing retirement savings, to get the most mileage out of your savings. Remember: Your kids can fall back on student loans if necessary; your retirement can’t.

Evaluate your insurance coverage

No one wants to think about the worst-case scenario, but planning for it can make life a little easier should it occur. That’s where insurance comes in.

“I think the biggest thing is the disability insurance for someone in their 30s,” says Tracy St. John, a financial advisor and founder of Financial Avenues LLC in Kansas City, Missouri.

Most disability insurance offered by employers pays 60% of your base salary if you are too sick or injured to work. For many people, that’s not enough.

To figure out what you need, St. John suggests evaluating current income and future financial goals. Then, look at what your current disability plan would pay. If there’s a gap, consider purchasing additional coverage now.

“As you get older it’s going to cost you more,” she says.

Purchase only what fits within your budget, but choose a plan that allows you to adjust coverage as your income increases.

Adding life insurance can also be a smart move in your 30s, even if you have coverage through your employer, St. John says. Like other policies, life insurance gets only more expensive with age.

Kelsey Sheehy is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: ksheehy@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @KelseyLSheehy.

Nordstrom selling work jeans covered in fake mud for $425 


After it was ridiculed for selling designer rocks at Christmas, Nordstrom may have topped itself with its latest offer.

The department store is offering a pair of jean covered in fake mud for a whopping $425.

The retailer described its new Barracuda Straight Leg Jeans on its website as "rugged Americana workwear that's seen some hard-working action with a crackled, caked-on muddy coating that shows you're not afraid to get down and dirty." 

 >> Read more trending news

But at a price of $425 for the muddy jeans, which are made overseas, the pants have a attracted a wheel-barrow full of clever product reviews, like these:

 "Can I get one with fake oil stains? I want to pretend to be a car guy!"

 "Perfectly match my stick on calluses."

 "Do you also sell jeans covered in cow manure? Oh, that must be the deluxe model."

 "These jeans work so you don't have to..."

 Many other comments take the company to task for what is perceived as a lack of respect for hard work. 

>> Related: Nordstrom wants to sell you a designer stone wrapped in leather.

"Dirty Jobs" host Mike Rowe wrote about the jeans as proof of "our country's war on work," saying, "They're a costume for wealthy people who see work as ironic-- not iconic."


Millennials, Take This Savings Lesson From Retirees

Many have mulled this question; few have been lucky enough to answer it: Take lottery winnings as a lump sum or annuity?

As with any financial decision, there are pros and cons to both sides. But the pro to a lump sum is often the same as the con: You get to take that money and run. For some that means investing it; for others, it means wallpapering their house with $100 bills.

A recent MetLife survey highlighted how this choice shakes out when it comes to retirement: One in five retirees who took their pension or defined contribution plan, such as a 401(k), as a lump sum depleted it in an average of 5 ½ years.

The lesson for millennials and those still saving: When in doubt, keep money you’ve set aside for retirement, or money you want to set aside for retirement, out of your hands.

There are a lot of ways to do that, but here are five.

1. Lock that money up

The goal is to make retirement savings as inaccessible as possible until you need them. You can accomplish that by putting them in an individual retirement account or a 401(k).

Both generally penalize users who tap money before age 59 ½. A Roth IRA is most flexible: You can get your hands on contributions, but not earnings, at any time. But if you take an early distribution from your traditional IRA or 401(k), you’ll almost always pay a 10% penalty. The list of exceptions is short.

That might sound like a bummer, but the IRS is doing you a favor — retirement money should be for retirement. And you might think twice about an early distribution if it means peeling off a chunk of that cash for the IRS.

2. Give your 401(k) a raise

If you’ve ever gotten a raise and immediately felt like you didn’t, you understand the concept of lifestyle inflation. Extra money can quickly turn into extra expenses rather than savings or breathing room in your budget.

Of course, extra money can also make a budget livable or help pay down debt. But if you’re on solid financial footing and suspect your daily expenses will slowly creep up to the level of that raise, sign in to your 401(k) provider’s website and adjust your contribution upward so most of the raise goes directly there.

3. Direct deposit a windfall

We’re coming out of tax refund season, but it’s possible that won’t be your last windfall this year. Bonuses and inheritances happen, and you never know when that scratch-off ticket is going to be the one.

There are a lot of ways to invest extra money, but if you want to ensure that cash actually gets set aside, bypass your checking account.

If a tax refund is still coming to you, ask the IRS to direct deposit it; Uncle Sam will even generously split it among up to three accounts. (Too late? You know for next year.) Most companies allow employees to send a portion of their bonuses to a 401(k), and you can have an inheritance deposited to an IRA, assuming you have enough taxable compensation to cover the contribution and you stay under the IRA contribution limit.

4. Do a direct 401(k) rollover

When you leave a job, there are generally a few ways you can handle the money you’ve accumulated in a 401(k): You can leave it where it is, cash it out or roll it over to a new account; either an IRA or your new employer’s plan, if it accepts transfers.

Cashing out sounds like fun until you consider the cost: You’ll pay a 10% penalty if it’s an early distribution, plus income taxes. A $10,000 401(k) balance can quickly become $6,000 or $7,000. That penalty and tax hit might also apply if you intend to roll the money over into an IRA or new 401(k), but miss the IRS’s 60-day deadline for doing so.

Bottom line: We’ve all had good intentions but failed to follow through. Do yourself a favor — both the self who pays taxes today and the self who wants to retire later — and ask your 401(k) provider to do a direct rollover. This moves the money into the new account without it touching your wallet.

5. Save at the beginning of the month

You don’t have to be a formal, Excel-spreadsheets-and-counting-pennies budgeter to follow this advice: Put aside the amount you want to save each month after your first paycheck. This sets you up to save before you spend, rather than saving whatever you have leftover — which is often nothing. It’s a quick trick that leads to a much bigger account balance.

Arielle O’Shea is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: aoshea@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @arioshea.

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by Forbes.

Get to Work on Building Your Unemployment Fund

As if being laid off weren’t stressful enough, most Americans don’t have enough money saved to pay monthly bills if they’re jobless for more than a few weeks.

But you can you avoid that added stress: Create an emergency fund now for potential unemployment.

A recent NerdWallet study found that Americans don’t save enough to weather several common emergencies, the most expensive being unemployment. Even factoring in state unemployment benefits and average annual savings, most people come up thousands of dollars short.

Among those who lose their jobs in the U.S., the average length of time spent unemployed is 26 weeks. Coincidentally, most states’ unemployment benefits are paid out for up to 26 weeks. Even the most generous state benefits aren’t very high and won’t cover most Americans’ bills.

An $8,500 shortfall

The study shows that Americans save on average 5.85% of their income, or approximately $2,540 per year, based on an average disposable income of $43,408 for 2016. This amount of savings plus unemployment benefits — which average $444 per week — would still leave Americans who are unemployed for 26 weeks around $8,500 short of their usual income.

That gap is even greater for those who live in states with lower than average unemployment benefits, such as Arizona, Louisiana and Mississippi, or a high cost of living. And while being frugal can help, cutting back $8,500 over 26 weeks — more than $1,400 per month — poses significant constraints for many people.

How much to save for unemployment

The best time to save money is when you don’t need it; in other words, you should save while you’re employed. Having an emergency fund means you won’t have to turn to debt to get through a rainy day — or 26 rainy weeks.

Experts recommend saving enough to cover three to six months of basic expenses. Whether you save closer to three or six months depends on factors including the unemployment benefit offered by your state. Maximum state unemployment benefits range from $235 to $742 per week, for 12 to 30 weeks. Search your state’s unemployment benefits to see how much you could expect.

Also consider your life circumstances. If you live in a dual-income household and you don’t own a home, which means extra costs for maintenance, three months’ savings might be enough. However, if you’re self-employed or work in a volatile industry where layoffs are common, you need to save more.

Remember, you’re saving three to six months of expenses, not income. So if you can eliminate some expenses while you’re unemployed, you can lower your monthly savings amount. In other words, if your current monthly expenses are $3,000 but you can cut $500 when you’re not working, then your monthly emergency savings would be $2,500.

How to save an unemployment fund

Saving a three- to six-month cushion could take months or even years. But don’t get discouraged; your efforts will add up. To free up cash for emergencies, you need to spend less, earn more, or both. Save consistently and contribute at least part of any windfall, such as tax refunds, bonuses or inheritances, to your emergency fund.

You can increase your income and decrease your expenses in small and significant ways, from cutting out cable and selling things at a yard sale to getting a cheaper place and asking for a raise. It’s also a good idea to set up an automatic transfer from your checking to a high-yield savings account, whether you transfer $50 or $500 a month.

Saving thousands or tens of thousands of dollars for an emergency and unemployment fund may seem overwhelming, but even small amounts now will add up over time and — if you lose a job — help reduce some of the stress.

Erin El Issa is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: erin@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @Erin_El_Issa.

 This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by U.S. News & World Report.

IVF: How to Pay for an Expensive and Emotional Process

After struggling to get pregnant, Nikki and Mike McDermott of Lake Worth, Florida, were determined to do whatever it took to have a family. She took the fertility medication Clomid, underwent $500 in diagnostic tests and tried intrauterine insemination, all without success.

McDermott is far from alone. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Survey of Family Growth (2011-2013), 11.3% of women ages 15 to 44 — that’s 6.9 million women — have received fertility services.

It’s an expensive and emotional path, and success is not guaranteed.

“At that point emotionally, I was like, I can’t keep doing this up and down rollercoaster,” Nikki McDermott says. “We wanted something that had a higher success rate, so we did in vitro fertilization.”

Yet even a single cycle of IVF can be out of reach for many couples.

The high — and typically uncovered — cost of IVF

The McDermotts were quoted $14,000 for an IVF package including medications and procedures. At the time, McDermott was on her husband’s employer’s insurance plan, which offered no fertility coverage. To cover the bulk of treatment, the McDermotts took out a $10,000 fertility loan from a lender partnered with her doctor’s office at a sizable interest rate of just under 22%.

The first IVF cycle was successful for the McDermotts.  Having her son, Mikey, now a toddler, was worth the emotional and financial stress, McDermott says. “At the end of the day, we pay the monthly fee for the loan, and we just joke around that he can’t go to college,” she says.

According to data collected on 3,192 IVF patients and provided to NerdWallet by FertilityIQ, an online resource for those seeking fertility treatments, the national average cost for one IVF cycle, including drugs and the procedure, is $19,857. Some doctors offer packages or bundles at a discount, but the costs are still significant.

Some states mandate that health insurance cover fertility treatment, but the majority do not. According to the study by FertilityIQ, which involved more than 3,000 patients who received 7,141 IVF cycles in total, 28% had 76%-100% of treatment costs covered by insurance. But 56% of surveyed users had zero coverage, and the remainder of patients had only partial coverage. (Disclosure: NerdWallet CEO Tim Chen is an investor in FertilityIQ.) See the methodology below.

Making financial tradeoffs and saving for IVF is the best case scenario, says Shane Sullivan, a certified financial planner with United Capital in Austin, Texas. But for those eager to move forward without adequate savings, financing may be the answer. For the McDermotts, that answer was a fertility loan. Other IVF funding options, summarized below, include loans from credit unions, online lenders and credit cards.

Paying for IVF

If you’re seeking IVF treatments, whether you plan to buy a package or pay as you go, your credit history plays a large role in determining which financing options are available to you.

» MORE: Check your credit score


Lenders that focus specifically on fertility financing typically partner with doctor’s offices, and you can usually use this type of financing only if your provider offers it. Fertility-specific lenders may have higher interest rates, but the doctor’s office typically coordinates with the lender and receives the funds directly, removing some headache for patients. One of the most well-known fertility lenders is CapexMD, which offers loans through participating fertility clinics.


These personal installment loans have fixed rates with monthly payments. Credit unions are often the best choice for personal loans, as they usually have the lowest interest rates available, often starting as low as 7%, and can be open to lending to members with less-than-stellar credit. Federal credit unions are required to cap their interest rates at 18%. Credit union loans usually require a lot of paperwork and documentation, and they can take longer the online loans to be approved and funded.


If you’re in a hurry to pay for IVF treatment, online installment loans are approved and funded faster than loans from credit unions, sometimes within one day. They may also have more options when it comes to term length and amount. Interest rates are fixed and can be low for those with excellent credit.

Popular lenders for fertility treatments include Prosper, Lending Club and LightStream. Numerous other online lenders offer generic personal loans you can use for fertility treatment. NerdWallet recommends comparing offers from multiple lenders. The easiest way to compare actual rates is to pre-qualify online, which entails a soft credit check that won’t affect your credit score.


If you qualify, zero-interest credit cards can be an ideal way to fund at least some of your fertility treatment — the few thousand dollars needed to meet an insurance deductible, for instance. Credit cards typically have lower credit limits than the amount you could borrow with a loan, and you won’t know your credit limit until you are approved.

Emily Starbuck Crone is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: emily.crone@nerdwallet.com.

FertilityIQ Methodology: FertilityIQ’s data was collected between July 10, 2015 and February 19, 2017 via a survey of 3,192 patients who underwent at least one complete IVF cycle in the United States. The total number of IVF cycles completed by all patients was 7,141.

Panera Bread to hire 10,000 as it expands delivery locations

Panera Bread Co. will hire 10,000 new employees by the end of 2017 as it expands its delivery service, the company said in a statement Monday.

According to Panera, the company is planning to expand delivery options to 35 to 40 percent of its locations. It now delivers at 15 percent of its locations.

Panera president Blaine Hurst says each café will hire between seven and 12 staff members and drivers. The drivers will use their own vehicles which will be subject to inspection on a regular basis, Hurst said.

The delivery service will be digital and mobile ordering-based. The radius will be within an 8-minute drive of the restaurant and will be available between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m., seven days a week. The order must be a minimum of $5, and the delivery charge will be $3 in most areas, according to the statement.

The expanded delivery service is expected to add $250,000 per year to each store’s annual average revenue of $2.6 million. There are around 2,000 stores in 46 states and Ontario, Canada.

Panera is in the process of being acquired by JAB Holding. The deal is reported to be valued at about $7.5 billion. 

To find out if Panera delivers in your area, click here.


5 Ways to Catch Up on Retirement Savings

Worried about your retirement nest egg? It’s normal for someone nearing retirement to question how much they have saved — and wonder if their savings will last. Whether you haven’t started or life got in the way and you dipped into your nest egg, don’t stress, because it’s not too late to catch up. Here are a few tips for topping up your retirement fund.

1. Maximize Contributions

If you have access to a company retirement plan, such as a 401K, consider contributing enough to capitalize on a company match. Losing out on a company match can mean missing extra money over the span of one’s working career. On top of taking advantage of the company match, you may want to consider maximizing your contributions. Increasing your contributions may seem intimidating, but putting away a little more each year can boost your nest egg when you factor in the effects of compound interest.

2. Invest Found Money

Of course, not everyone can contribute more to their retirement funds on a regular basis, which makes investing found money a great opportunity. If you’re lucky enough to come into some money, whether from a tax refund, a bonus or money from your wedding, consider directly depositing this money into your retirement account. This way it will never touch your hands or be spent on personal items. For example, if you’re getting by comfortably on your income and receive a bonus, you may want to deposit the difference to help you catch up on saving for retirement.

3. Open an IRA

If you do not have an individual retirement account, opening one can be a great vehicle for stashing away money. Used along with a company plan, a traditional or Roth IRA can mean more income in retirement when the day to hang up your hat finally comes. With both accounts, an individual can contribute up to $5,500 annually, and an extra $1,000 for those over 50. (The extra allowance can help those who are a bit older catch up on saving.) While both savings accounts offer tax incentives at different times, it’s important to understand these tax breaks, along with their income limits, before you decide which account to open.

4. Work Longer

While delaying your retirement may not sound appealing, it can mean more time to build up your retirement funds — and a shorter retirement for which to save. It can also mean delaying Social Security and receiving a bigger monthly check in the future. If you wish to continue working but want to take on fewer hours, consider picking up a part-time job or starting a side hustle. While this may affect your Social Security, it can also mean extra money in your pocket during retirement, less stress and more time to do what you want. Keep in mind, unless otherwise specified, there may be a required minimum retirement distribution, which requires you to withdraw money at a certain age.

5. Pay off Debts

While saving and maxing out your retirement fund is ideal, it will do you no good if you have high-interest debt that continues to build. (See how debt is affecting your finances with a free credit report snapshot on Credit.com.) Your debts can feel like chains tied to your ankles if you don’t get rid of them before you retire. You may want to continue saving for retirement as well, but consider paying down high-interest debt first. Taking debt into retirement can mean less money for your golden years. So if you’re nearing retirement and worried about debt, consider speaking to a debt attorney to see how they can help.

Related Articles

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

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