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Your 30s are a very interesting time for personal finance.

According to expert Pattie Lovett-Reid, the decade marks the “golden years” of your money. It’s the time when you start to realize your earning potential, while having already reduced the debt burden that weighed you down in your 20s (we hope, anyway). Generally, however, 30s can be a complicated time for financial planning because it’s a time when many people in that age group take on new kinds of debt, like a mortgage or car loan. That’s OK though, because Lovett-Reid is here to help guide you through it.

Investing

If you feel comfortable investing in the long term (5+ years), consider throwing some of your cash at a mutual fund, as it’s much safer than going all-in with one company. But here’s the key: When you set up the investment with your financial institution, also create a pre-authorized purchase plan that will add little bits of cash to the investment over time. It will snowball faster than you think.

Debt

It’s important to note that there good kinds of debt, and bad kinds of debt. Good debt is essentially an investment that could increase your earning potential (tuition, real-estate property, etc.) or something like a mortgage or car loan. In fact, Lovett-Reid says your 30s are a good time to take on even more “good” debt. For the rest of it, however, you want to start by paying off the debt that is costing you the most money–the ones taxing you with the highest interest rates. It’s important to note that your biggest debt may not be your most expensive one, so check the numbers before proceeding.

Saving

The golden rule here is to set aside 10 per cent of your before-tax income for saving, but your first priority should be to reduce debt. Once all that debt is out of the way, take the opportunity to put even more money in the markets for the longer term.

For more information on how to maximize your money in your 30s, check out the video above.

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