7. Live simply. Deferred gratification may not be fun, but adopting a simple lifestyle is one of the surest ways to meet today's needs and still reach your long-term goals. Take a look at your spending to identify areas you could trim the fat. Small sacrifices can add up to big rewards.
It's easy to get jealous of friends and family who are living larger and seem to be doing much better than you are. Remember that keeping up with the Joneses is a losing game. Someone else's success may be a facade. Tune out the financial peer pressure around you and focus solely on what you know for certain: the state of your own personal finances.
8. Make your will known. A will ensures that your wishes are carried out should the unthinkable happen. Many assume that wills are for people who are old, rich, married or have kids. But all adults need a will to spell out their wishes in case they die or can't make medical decisions for themselves.
If you have children, make sure your will designates a guardian to care for them should something happen to both you and their other parent.
9. Get a life . . . insurance policy. If you have children (or someone else who depends on you financially), life insurance is a must. If you were to die, you'll want to make sure they're secure. When you're in your 30s, you can get a great deal on term life insurance, buying a policy that lasts for a certain amount of time -- say, until the kids are grown.
10. Be charitable. As you become more established in life and in your finances, take the opportunity to give something back. Being charitable and socially conscious can be rewarding -- not to mention financially smart, considering the tax write-offs you get if you itemize on your returns.
If the new responsibilities of your 30s have you feeling strapped, give of yourself, not of your wallet. Volunteer your time or talents for a cause you believe in. It doesn't cost a lot to make a difference.
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