Some big life changes – and big expenses – can occur in your 30s. The key to maximising your retirement savings now is making savvy, forward-thinking financial decisions.

Key points:

  • This decade is usually one of major expenses, with marriage, kids and first homes all statistically on the agenda.
  • There are a number of strategies to boost your (and your partner’s) super contributions.
  • Assess your investment style and get serious about growing your wealth.
  • You’re never too young to have life insurance. Did you know your super account may provide it?
  • A full-time job doesn’t mean you can’t discover additional income streams. 

To save for retirement in your 30s, you might need to adopt the principle of delayed gratification. That is, being aware of what you can comfortably borrow and pay back, resisting living expenses you can’t afford, and tucking away any extra money to help protect yourself financially, both now and in the future. 

Short-term needs and expenses are probably front-of-mind and you might want to prioritise saving more money for a rainy day over adding to your super. Even so, it’s still possible to prepare for retirement while in your 30s, to help make sure you eventually leave the workforce with sufficient financial freedom. 


Set a budget - and stick to it

Your budget shouldn’t be static, and it’s a good idea to reassess it at different stages of your life. This is particularly important from age 30, when you’re potentially faced with a lot of large expenses, both expected and unexpected.

Buying a house? Don’t be tempted to get in over your head with credit card and other debt to purchase your dream property. Getting married? Work out how much you can afford to spend in advance and stick to your budget. Planning to have children? Taking time out of the workforce not only affects your day-to-day household budget, it can also have a long-term effect on your super balance; you could explore contribution splitting to help make up the shortfall.

Start saving as much as you can 

You’re no longer new to the workforce and, with a decade of experience under your belt, you may be in a position to receive a promotion or pay rise. If you’re in a relationship, you may also benefit from having two income streams, as you can share some of the load on living expenses like rent, car costs and groceries.

But just because you’re earning more doesn’t mean you should spend more. In fact, as your income grows so, too, should your financial and savings goals. If you developed strong savings habits in your 20s – now’s a good time to save and invest to set aside even more for your future. 

Boost your super

It’s time to get serious about super, so your retirement savings are maximised. If you haven’t completed all the steps recommended in your 20s – like consolidating funds where appropriate, choosing a fund that’s in line with your values and understanding where and how your money is generating an investment return – then it’s time to think about these tasks.

Next, if you were one of the thousands of Australians who withdrew their superannuation in 2020 under the Federal Government’s early super access scheme, start thinking about how you might be able to replenish your super balance.  

You could do this by making a personal super contribution – which you could then try to claim as a tax deduction in your tax return or potentially receive a government bonus to your super in the form of a co-contribution, if your income is under a certain threshold.

If you’re an employee, on top of the compulsory superannuation guarantee (SG) from your employer (currently 10% per annum),1 you might also consider salary sacrificing, which is where your employer makes additional voluntary contributions, on your behalf, to your super fund. You choose the amount you’re comfortable salary sacrificing and it’s paid directly from your before-tax income. 

Whatever strategy you choose, by setting up payments as an automatic contribution, you’re less likely to even notice them coming out. Plus, putting these tactics in place now means you’re taking a small but vital step toward ensuring your financial wellbeing and a comfortable retirement. 

Did you know? The superannuation guarantee is currently at 10% and is set to grow to 12% by 2027. 

Identify additional income streams 

Furniture lying around the house that you never use? A talent for photography? Love making jewellery in your spare time? Your talents and hobbies – and all that ‘stuff’ you no longer need could be earning you extra cash.

Help save for retirement in your 30s through a side hustle or by regularly getting rid of the things you no longer use. It’s also potentially a fun way to meet new people and spend more time doing what you love. Consider putting whatever you earn from these side projects directly into your retirement account – you’ll be building funds for your future, while decluttering or getting your creative juices flowing. 

Assess your insurance needs 

With more responsibilities, and possibly debts, it’s probably a good time to make sure your financial future is protected with insurance. You might consider taking out private health insurance before you turn 31, to avoid paying a lifetime health cover1 loading on top of your premium. 

While it may not seem like Save and invest wisely something you need just yet, income protection and life insurance are not just for oldies. They’re relevant for Aussies at all life stages, especially those of working age with ambitions for the future. Imagine if you couldn’t work because of illness or an accident – taking out insurance can protect you from having to dip into your savings account to pay for unforeseen expenses while you may be off work. 

TIP: Many superannuation accounts include life insurance, although it’s always a good idea to research the extent of the coverage offered. 

Save and invest wisely 

This is the decade where you might consider investing more aggressively for your future, however it’s important to make considered decisions with advice from those in the know. 

If you’re a newbie investor, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration, including what level of risk you’re comfortable with and how diversified you’d like your portfolio to be. Start small, set clear goals and continually re-evaluate your progress. 

For example, if buying a home is still out of reach, then rentvesting – where you purchase an investment property in a different area, while you continue to rent – is becoming a popular alternative. If you’re looking at the stock market, managed funds offer a chance to buy into a portfolio of different companies, without purchasing them individually.

Regardless of your investment style, consider compound interest for any money you have sitting in your savings account – it can be a good way to grow wealth without thinking.

Get personal finance advice

Whether you talk to your partner, use savvy friends as a sounding board, or get advice from your parents, it’s good to have honest conversations about personal finance. But it’s also important to understand the value of qualified professional advice . Consider making an appointment to see a financial adviser to help you better understand your financial situation, so you can set and reach your retirement goals. 



1 Australian Taxation Office: Superannuation guarantee percentage
Australian Taxation Office  2019), Lifetime Health Cover

Get started in 3 easy steps

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1
Budget and save for your financial future

Create and reassess your budget and put any extra money straight into your savings.

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2
Boost your super

Consider personal contributions or salary sacrifice to build up your super balance.

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3
Get help with your personal finances

Talk to a financial adviser about your short-term and long-term financial goals.  

Speak to a super coach

If you’re an AMP Super member and would like to know more about your super, book a complimentary 20-minute super coaching session.

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What you need to know

Any advice and information is provided by AWM Services Pty Ltd ABN 15 139 353 496, AFSL No. 366121 (AWM Services) and is general in nature. It hasn’t taken your financial or personal circumstances into account.

It’s important to consider your particular circumstances and read the relevant product disclosure statement, Target Market Determination and terms and conditions, available from AMP at amp.com.au, or by calling 131 267, before deciding what’s right for you.

The super health check is provided by AWM Services and is a general advice conversation only. It does not consider your personal circumstances.

You can read our Financial Services Guide online for information about our services, including the fees and other benefits that AMP companies and their representatives may receive in relation to products and services provided to you. You can also ask us for a hard copy. All information on this website is subject to change without notice. AWM Services is part of the AMP group.