Working in your 30s - the financial reality

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29 January 2019

Man working at office

Your 30s are the decade when life starts to get a bit more real. Statistically, in this decade you’re more likely to take on a mortgage and buy your first home1 and have kids2 than in any other. That’s a whole boatload of commitment. Renovations, a full-on workload, and increased outgoings are all likely to feature heavily as a consequence.

It’s also a decade when you’re invited to a wedding at least once every three months, your bed becomes the most important purchase you’ll ever make, and an infinite amount of seemingly-random children insist on calling you ‘Aunty’ or ‘Uncle’.

Your responsibilities, and the financial pressure on your bank account, grow by the day (have you seen the price of daycare and school trips?). These increased outgoings mean the money simply has to keep coming in, and you, very literally, cannot afford any major time off work through illness or injury.

Of course, that’s easy to say. A lot harder to achieve.

While you have your statutory 10 sick days per year to cover short-term illness or injury (not so, of course, if you work for yourself) if you were hit by a serious illness or injury, your finances – and your life – would undoubtedly feel the repercussions.

To successfully navigate the precarious tightrope of your 30s, you need to ensure you have the correct safety nets and plans in place.

Know your budget

During your 30s there’ll be an increasing amount of money coming in – and going out. It’s essential you are entirely across the day-to-day reality of your financial commitments, and you’re putting cash aside for tomorrow. If you haven’t created a household plan and budget before, then ASIC’s Money Smart budget planner is a great tool to get full visibility of your commitments.

Do you have enough life insurance?

Once you’ve got a clear view of your household financial commitments, it’s wise to assess how much life insurance cover you have. You may well have life insurance wrapped in with your super, but does it give you enough cover? Probably not. Research has found that the median level of life cover will provide just 38% of the amount needed to maintain a family’s standard of living after the death of a partner or parent3. So ask the question, ‘How much life insurance do I need?’ The exact amount of cover you need depends on your circumstances but, as a guide, in your 30s it’s recommended you have a minimum of $1m-$1.5m cover4.  

Make sure you have enough TPD and salary continuation insurance

Again, you may have Total Permanent Disability and salary continuation cover within your super fund, however studies show the median cover only meets 13% of TPD needs and 17% of income needs – meaning that, while it’s better than nothing, it might not meet your financial obligations should you fall seriously ill or be injured and unable to work.

Scenarios where accidental death insurance, illness insurance or total permanent disability cover are needed aren’t the nicest conversations to have – that goes without saying.

However, they’re far nicer than the conversations you’d be forced to have if something prevented you from working and you didn’t have the adequate cover in place.




These pages contain general information only and do not take into account your personal circumstances, objectives or needs. This information is provided in good faith and believed to be accurate at the time it was placed on the MLC Life Insurance website, however we make no representation or warranty as to the reliability, accuracy or completeness of this information.

The information provided is not intended to constitute financial, legal or medical advice, or to substitute for the need to consult with your advisers or treating practitioners. Before acting on any information in these pages, you should consider whether it is right for you and consult with your financial, legal and/or medical advisers.

Any views or opinions expressed or referenced here (including in any video content) or in any webpages to which hyperlinks are provided do not represent the opinion of MLC Limited, unless we say otherwise.


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