8 Things to Know About Estate Planning in Your 30s

The typical American worker in their 30s hasn’t done much to save for retirement. But with debt levels rising and a lingering recession, estate planning in your 30s just makes sense. Getting ahead financially will serve you well in your old age, no matter who you are or what your income level. No clue where to start? Worry not; we’ve got eight need-to-knows that will get you on the right track.

  1. Now is the time.

    Estate planning encompasses both retirement and death planning, and it’s better to plan for these things while you’re still young. Setting aside money for retirement in your 30s gives you the chance to watch it grow throughout the decades, so that maybe you can relax in your old age.

  2. It will change over time.

    Even if you’ve got your estate completely planned by your 30th birthday, know that your wishes will change during this time. Most people get married, buy homes, and have children in their 30s, and the state of your estate plans will reflect these changes throughout your life.

  3. Know what you want.

    It’s not just your money, it’s your life and legacy. Know who you can trust to take care of things in case of your death, and make sure you’ve discussed any wishes with this person. Choose guardians for your children, designate your wishes in your will, and always save aggressively. One of the things you want is a nice retirement!

  4. Be a risk taker.

    When signing up for investment plans, your 30s are a decade you can afford to take some risks. You don’t have to choose the least risk averse options, but do plan to be willing to take a chance to grow your retirement fund. Listen to your financial advisor, and discuss your plans with friends and family.

  5. Know thyself.

    Do you know your family’s medical history? Do you know what habits you have that could cause a premature death? Make sure you get yearly physicals, are aware of your health profile, and have taken the proper precautions. If heart disease is rampant on both sides of your family, start taking lifestyle and estate planning steps to take care of yourself in case of tragedy. Knowledge is power!

  6. Plan for tragedy.

    It’s sad to think that you’ll die someday, and it’s even more upsetting to think that it could be prematurely. But it’s a dangerous world, and something awful could happen. Your estate plans should be comprehensive enough to allow for a plan of action in case of your untimely death. Spare your family from having to make the tough decisions by starting early.

  7. Consider alternatives.

    If you don’t have a large 401(k), consider some alternatives in your 30s. If you need to pick up an extra job, more education, or retool your finances due to a low-paying gig, these are the years to do it. Some people choose to work part-time jobs in their retirement, while others begin investing and saving earlier to avoid this need. You’ve got lots of choices; make sure your estate plan reflects your life plan.

  8. It’s OK to enlist help.

    Estate planning can be confusing, especially if you’ve got a complicated income. Don’t be afraid to reach out to accountants, financial advisors, or specialists if you aren’t certain where to turn. It might cost you some money at the outset, but “Future You” will be thankful you got it settled as a young adult.