There comes a time when you can no longer blame your money mistakes on youth and breaking bad habits becomes paramount to long-term financial health.
In other words: It's showtime.
Here are eight money moves to make now that you're 35(ish).
1. Ramp up your 401(k) contributions
Many Americans are woefully behind when it comes to retirement savings. If you're among them, consider contributing a bigger portion of your paycheck to your employer-sponsored 401(k). This year, contribution limits are set to $18,500 (or $24,500 if you’re 50 or older). Aim to contribute at least as much as your employer matches. Employer contributions don't count toward those limits.
2. Pay off your credit card debt
Some debts are good. Credit card debt is not one of them. Any balances you carry over month to month accrue interest for the bank, not value for your portfolio. Get out of the red by looking into a balance-transfer credit card, prioritizing payments and avoiding new charges.
3. Get life insurance
You're not getting any younger, which means your life insurance rates aren't getting any cheaper. Premiums go up as you age and develop health conditions. If you don't have financial protection for your family, now is the time to get some. Bonus: Term life insurance rates are at a 20-year-low. We can help you easily compare life insurance quotes across companies here.
4. Re-draft your budget
Wants and needs change over time, so if you're still using the budget you put together right after college, you might want to re-crunch those numbers. A budgeting app can help. You can also go old-school and break out a spreadsheet.
5. Shore up your emergency savings
Experts generally recommended banking three to six months worth of expenses for a rainy day. Easier said than done, we know. Fortunately, we have some easy ways to save more here.
6. Improve your credit
Looking to buy a house? Your credit will largely determine your mortgage rate. Need a new car? Ditto for the interest you'll pay on an auto loan. Your credit also influences your credit card annual percentage rates, insurance premiums, cell phone plan prices and utility bills. Translation: It's extremely important to your financial health. You can improve your credit — and keep it sparkling — by making all your loan payments on-time, keeping debt levels low and adding new lines of credit over time.
It's hard to build a truly robust nest egg off of a 401(k), so look into ways to diversify your portfolio. Dipping a toe in stocks is terrifying, but there are investment apps and robo-advisers that can help you invest your spare change (or more). At the very least, look into opening a traditional or Roth individual retirement account.
8. Set the tone
Kids are young and impressionable, so if you have little ones, consider some basic money lessons akin to the ABCs. A small allowance can help them learn about saving vs. spending, and trips to the grocery store are a great way to start some simple budgeting discussions. We've got more ways to talk to your kids about money here.