How to build wealth in your 30s

Key takeaways

  • Keeping track of your expenses versus income can help identify possible savings to pay off debt

  • Investing with a long-term plan means you’re less likely to be affected by short-term market fluctuations

  • Adding more to your super on a regular basis offers tax benefits in addition to improving your retirement.

To all the thirty-somethings out there, now’s your time to shine!

These are the years that will shape the rest of your life, where strategic decisions can significantly impact your long-term financial wellbeing.

So, if you’re looking for a future that’s not held back by financial worry here’s some simple tips to start building wealth now so you can chill later.

Set the foundation for wealth building

1. Understand your current financial situation

Having a clear picture about what you earn versus what you spend can highlight areas where you could save more. Whatever income you’re able to save can then be allocated towards your debt or a financial goal.

There are budget planners and phone apps you can use to track your spending. Alternatively, you can simply download your bank statements and keep a record of your receipts.

Consider also setting up an emergency fund to provide a financial safety net if things go wrong.

2. Gain control of your debt

Debt management is a crucial skill when it comes to managing money, savings and planning for the future.

Whether it’s a credit card, personal loan or a mortgage you’re paying off, setting priorities and keeping track of your expenses/income to identify potential savings may help to pay off debts sooner.

If you’re able to repay more than the minimum, look at prioritising your debts. You’ll need to think about the type of debt you have—an investment loan or personal debt—and how much is owing. If you only have personal debt, you could prioritise repaying debts with the highest interest rate first, given these will be costing you the most.

Investment strategies for long-term growth

Having time on your side—one of the benefits of being in your 30s—can mean a great deal in the investing world.

Why? If you invest with a long-term plan, you’re less likely to be affected by short-term market volatility.

This means that with growth assets like shares and property, your chance of a negative return gets lower the longer you invest. In your 30s, you’re in a better position to use this to your advantage so you can take on more risk to generate higher returns, if you choose to.

1. Build a diversified investment portfolio

Diversification is key for managing risk. While it does not eliminate risk entirely, it helps to protect your portfolio from being significantly impacted is one investment or asset class was to fall.

So, if you do decide to build an investment portfolio, explore various investment vehicles such as shares, bonds, and real estate. Also consider seeking professional advice – we can help – to ensure it aligns with your financial goals.


Generally, shares outperform many other investments over the long-term. Australian shares for example, have given their investors an average annual return of 9.1% per year for the past 30 years.1

There’s also the benefit of dividends. If you invest in companies that pay dividends, you’ll benefit from part of the company’s profits which are paid to shareholders (generally twice a year). That can be handy income – or reinvested to keep growing your capital.


Owning an investment property may be another way to generate a good income stream. Receiving rent from tenants provides income that can help you pay off your mortgage so you can capitalise on another investment later in life.

Like shares, Australian residential property has delivered strong long-term returns, delivering 10.7% per year since 1926.2

While less volatile than shares, it’s important to note property values do change depending on supply and demand in the market.

2. Review your super

Super is one way to generate wealth over the long-term due to compounding returns.

Compound returns enable you to earn interest on interest which is accumulated over time. The effect of compound interest becomes extremely powerful over a long timeframe as the amount of interest earned grows.

In your 30s you’ve got time to get compound returns on your side. One way to maximise this benefit is to contribute more into your super on a regular basis.

You can do this using your before or after-tax income and there may be tax benefits that come with this too. For example, if you contribute some of your after-tax income or savings into super, you may be eligible to claim a tax deduction.

Be mindful of contributions caps though. They limit the amount of super contributions you’re able to make each year to avoid paying tax at your marginal tax rate (the tax rate you pay on your income) rather than a tax rate of 15% which is applied to super. 

Income growth

1. Negotiate salary and benefits

Doing a good job is important but equally as important is advocating for yourself in the workplace.

Regularly assess your market value and negotiate salary increases if you feel you’ve gone above and beyond the requirements of your role.

Additionally, explore employer benefits such as super contributions, health insurance, and other perks that contribute to your overall financial wellbeing.

2. Explore side hustles

Diversifying your income through a side hustle can accelerate wealth building. Explore opportunities aligned with your skills and interests that can provide additional financial stability.

Bottom line: by focusing on key elements such as budgeting, debt management, and investing wisely, you can lay a solid foundation for long-term financial success in your 30s. The habits and choices you make now, can significantly influence your financial future.

1 SMH: August 2023 – Australian shares beating out global peers over the very long run

2 NAB Business Research and Insights: October 2023 – Investment Lending explained: A deep dive into property vs shares

The information in this article is current as at January 2024 and may be subject to change. The information in this article is factual in nature only and does not and is not intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. You should obtain appropriate advice before making any decisions based on the information in this article.


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