Turning 30

It’s time to get serious and have a plan, folks!

This month I celebrated the big 3-0. Like your sweet sixteen, turning 25, turning 4-0 or 5-0 (over the hill?), turning 30 is a major milestone. Unlike turning 16 (have I been kissed yet?) or 25 (do I have a job?), 30 brought on a host of other reflections. Bad memories of grade 12 came flooding back: I had imagined my life 10 years in the future (to my age 27) and saw it on a tree-lined street in Oak Bay, two BMWs in the driveway and a couple kids, adorable like my husband and our puppy. I can assure you that my life on my 30th birthday did not resemble that vision at all. Sparing you the details, the reality is that I live in Victoria –the most beautiful and least affordable city my parents encouraged me to come back to after jetting around the world (oh, so that’s what I was doing in my 20s instead of fulfilling my vision). I don’t regret anything I’ve done up to this point although I could have done some things differently for sure.
Others have given advice when faced with the same conundrum: I’ve turned 30…what do I do? Such as “Consider your car nothing but the rapidly depreciating lifestyle appliance it is.”

Here are some things I would recommend to help meet your vision:
Teen years:

  • Get a part-time job (full-time in the summer) and pay for as much university/college/tradeschool tuition as possible.
  • At age 18, start contributing to an RRSP (tax-wise, it doesn’t matter but getting in the habit does). If you need every penny for school in the next year, contribute to a TSFA.
  • Go to school as soon as you’re ready (this may not be age 18); have the money available. You can borrow up to $20,000 from your RRSP to pay for school.


  • Go to school to learn a skill, not just for the letters after your name.
  • Get a credit card ($500 limit) and pay it off in full every month.
  • If you have the means, buy real estate (this is much easier if you’ve been saving since age 18…you can borrow up to $25,000 from your RRSP as a first-time homebuyer).
  • Travel: this doesn’t need to be extravagant but the act of saving for this goal is important (so is the reward!).
  • Maintain a good credit rating: get a credit card (and pay it in full), pay your bills (even if you really dislike your cell phone provider), don’t apply for credit cards at events just for the free stuff (multiple hits affect your score), don’t go over your limit.
  • Look into permanent life insurance and health insurance and buy what you can afford.

Thirties (time to do the stuff you should have done 5 years ago):

  • Buy or upgrade your home
  • Buy life/health insurance
  • Pay off your debts by setting up automatic payments
  • Make a plan for saving for retirement
  • When you have kids, set up savings plans for them (hint, hint gradparents!)

It’s never too late to start! I am thankful to live in this wonderful city surrounded by family and friends with a roof over my head and a career I love. Here’s to my 1st anniversary of my 29th birthday!

Splitting your finances