Don’t Panic on your 30th birthday: The two Sustainable Fs

Turning 30 has been thought as a very big deal, and appropriately so. You’re essentially stepping into the maturity of your life. The fun light and carefree time you spent mostly with your friends is over and serious responsibilities are lurking around the corner. Margin for error becomes smaller and smaller until you feel claustrophobic in your own life. Who wants that?

When I turned 30…

I turned 30 in July 28th 2021. However, the birthday came and went smoothly without having any effect on my mood. Believe or not, that was actually more unsettling than anything. Why didn’t I care that I was loosing a very important era of my life?

Most important question is, Should you worry when you turn 30? Why or Why not?

Here’s why I didn’t..

Sustainable Family

I got married very young age when I was 25. It was just when I graduated and I got my first job. My wife was 23 at that time. Although we didn’t expect to, we were thrown into a very hard and demanding life in our early ages. It needed a lot of sacrifices and elbow grease to build our life, the way it is today. We didn’t have our parents or friends to help us or rescue us from problems.

This is how most families break if they got married very young. When the whole world coming at you, you forget the big picture. You try to focus on “against the world” part of “us against the world” and forget the “us” part. You tell yourself that “one day, we’ll have the vacation of our lives in the sandy beaches of Hawaii” but “one day” never comes. You start to fight every day and slowly drift apart.

That’s where my wife and I were different. We have some ridiculous plans like most others, like vacating in every country in the world. But we also have some small sustainable plans. We want to dine out once or twice every month. We want to go on two small vacation every year for the cost of fraction of our monthly income. There are more; but the idea is that each of these plans are very easy to maintain. It gives a great release for our life and most importantly, it gives us a sense of achievement every year.

Catch a breath after each battle. Don’t wait until the war is over.

The planned stress release also reduced a lot of fights between us, because most of them are baseless frustration tantrums rather than actual fights.

Sustainable Finance

I always was a risk phobic. I didn’t like high risk decisions no matter how high the reward was. I never liked gambling. So 1 year after I got my job, I made a financial plan. Although the plan got changed and updated, I always sticked to it. So I had a very good idea how my life would be in the next 5 years.

The plan wasn’t perfect (nothing is). But what it did was, help me maintain a sustainable home economy. I know my spending capacity as well as my earning potential, and I never go above my limits.

This doesn’t mean I look away every time I see a fun little toy near the counter, and it doesn’t mean my wife looks away every time she sees a new flavour of candy. It means that knowing how much money you are allowed to burn every month, helps.

Having a financial plan also helps to identify if you are off tracking from your long term plans, or if you need to improve your incomes somehow to achieve your goals.

You can start off by planning for the following.

  1. Retirement
  2. Fun and Entertainment
  3. Family wellbeing

Your definition for each of the above can be different, and your priorities can also be significantly different. In any case, you can start off with a simple plan and improve it along the way.

Ultimately, if you have a good short term (monthly) and long term (decennial) financial plan, you can have $0 in your account when you turn 30 and still be cool as a cucumber (and rightfully so).

So that’s how I was calm and collected when I turned 30. If I stay true to the two Sustainable Fs above, I’ll have a similar, if not better, time turning 40, 50 as well as 60 years old. Let’s see if I can keep up. If you feel any of the above applies to you too, you can try along with me as well.

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