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Set financial priorities in your 30s to enjoy success later

Your 30s can be truth-telling time. Maybe you spent foolishly in your 20s, ran up debt, or your career isn't as lucrative now as you hoped.

Make the right moves now, before your finances go further awry.

Tackle student loan debt: Consider consolidation, or changing your repayment plan. "Apply for income-based repayment, keep nibbling away at it," says CEO Alex Matjanec.

Get house-ready: The 30s can bring marriage, baby carriage, and the big question: when to buy a house. Your credit score is key. Clean up any errors in your report and have healthy credit habits, like always paying on time.

"Have a plan to reduce debts. Don't fall behind; problems will escalate and it's a very long road back," says Vera Gibbons, a financial journalist in Manhattan.

Shift savings into high gear: You're trying to pay down debt, but eliminate "extras" and you can save more, in your emergency fund and investments.

"Because of the power of compounding, contributing $10,000 to a retirement account at age 30 will have a much bigger impact on your retirement than contributing the same amount at age 40 or 50," explains Benjamin Sullivan, a certified financial planner with Palisades Hudson Financial Group in Scarsdale. In fact, says Claudia Ferreira, a financial professional for MetLife Premier Client Group in East Hills, when you reach your 30s, try to raise your 401(k) savings to 15 percent.

Upgrade your career: You are your biggest asset. If you career isn't where you want it to be, take action. Says David Lewinter, president of Lewinter Wealth Advisors in West Orange, New Jersey, "Get another degree, a mentor -- get on track."


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