The three money stages before 30

Good financial habits can be great to learn and put in place when you are younger; however, it’s never too late to start learning. Here are three important financial stages of a young Australian's life; especially when it comes to money.

Mid- to late teens

Many teenagers around Australia may choose to take on a casual or part-time job. Whether it’s to save for a car, a game console, or something similar.

Starting a first job can be an exciting step for many young Australians, working their way towards earning their own money and gaining more independence. Plus, it can be a great way to earn work experience that may put you on better footing when you enter the adult working world too.

There is plenty to learn about money at this stage too - you may not need to worry about investments and debts just yet, but saving and budgeting may be a key area for young Australians to become confident in. Remember, saving at this point is the key to affording that more expensive purchase later down the line. This is where the development of money management skills could play an important role in establishing future personal finance habits.

Early adulthood

On becoming a legal adult, you are likely to be bombarded with new responsibilities, not least of which is the chance for you to continue your education at a tertiary institution. Making this decision may be a big change for you, particularly if you are moving out of the family home.

This new stage of life can present many opportunities such as further study, travel or even full-time work. Regardless of the direction you wish to take, you may need to start being more careful with your budgeting. As you turn 18, you may find that you could be eligible for a wide range of financial products, including credit cards, and the temptation may be there to start living beyond your means.

However, what is important to remember is that a good budget is sustainable. That is, you aren't relying on risky spending behaviours in order to fund your lifestyle. In 2024 the average Australian has over $3,000 in debt on their credit card1 - per credit card - which could take years to pay off. You may find it preferable not to fall into this level of debt early on.


You've finished your education, and you're ready to head out into the wide world. By this point, you may have a good idea of how to handle your money, but by now it's time to really start considering your future. Saving for a home and preparing for retirement may well be at the top of your priority list, now that you know how to keep your finances stable.

Saving for your first home can seem like a daunting prospect. For the median home in Sydney, for example, you could be looking at a 10 per cent deposit of roughly $100,0002. However this would not take into account the other actual and potential costs such as legal costs, stamp duty, lender’s mortgage insurance (if applicable) and other fees that are associated with applying for and obtaining a home loan and purchasing a property.

With this in mind, you may want to look to the city outskirts for a home, or if you are willing to compromise on space, the inner city may still have apartments available for a more affordable price3. On the other hand, you may be one of the 3 in 10 Australians that are 'choice renters'4. That is, you actually prefer to rent, rather than owning your own home.

Mark McCrindle, social researcher at McCrindle, makes the point that this may be a result of people deciding to buy an investment property first, then continue renting themselves in order to maintain a more fluid lifestyle - or be able to afford living in the city. Could that be the right option for you?

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Important Information



2. CoreLogic RP Data, Monthly indices

3. CoreLogic RP Data, Investors and owner occupiers buying subsequent homes are making things tough for first home buyers

4. McCrindle Research, The Optus Renter of the Future report

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