20 Mistakes You’re Making in Your 30s That Will Cost You in the Long Run

Welcome to the thrilling rollercoaster ride known as your 30s. Whether you’re already knee-deep in this decade or just inching your way toward it, one thing’s for sure- you’re bound to make some common blunders along the way. But don’t worry; we’ve all been there!

One person asked, “What’s a common mistake people make in their 30s?” Here are some of the best responses. 

1. A Bad Relationship 

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A discerning Reddit user commented, “Stay in unhealthy toxic relationships.”

Another replied, “I’d add to that list: Staying in unhealthy toxic relationships. Jumping into new relationships/marriage because you think you are getting ‘too old’. Letting healthy relationships die due to focusing on work/self. Not jumping into relationships because you had bad dating experiences in your 20’s (some people do get much better).”

So, why do we do this? Well, for one, society’s whispering in our ears that it’s high time we settle down. The pressure to join the “married with kids” club is real. In our desperate quest to fit in, we sometimes pick the wrong puzzle piece to complete our picture of happiness.

2. Missing Your Youth

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Someone commented, “Romanticizing your 20s and fearing your 40s. (live where you are).”

Someone else added, “This is so good. It is so easy to romanticize the past and fear the future. Life is organic, and so are we. We will keep changing and oftentimes in a good way (stronger, wiser, more confident, etc.). I’m so happy to be who I am at 37.”

Here’s the thing: romanticizing your 20s is as common as getting a coffee stain on your favorite t-shirt. But remember, those carefree days weren’t all sunshine and rainbows. Sure, you had fewer responsibilities, but you also had less money, fewer life experiences, and probably many more hangovers.

3. Comparing Lifestyles

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First off, social media is the ultimate illusionist’s toolbox. People only post the highlights of their lives- the epic vacations, the promotions, the gourmet meals. You’re not seeing the mundane stuff like laundry piles, traffic jams, and messy breakups. A Reddit user wrote, “Comparing their lifestyle to other 30-somethings”

Another added, “This is a good one. Your peer’s success can seem perfect from afar and make you feel inadequate. But if you sit down and talk with them, you will learn all sorts of shortcomings and difficulties in their life that will make you appreciate something about yourself and your situation. In other words, we are all just out here tryna function.”

4. Thinking You Are Too Old

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One said, “Thinking they are too old. Never too late to switch career paths or look for a new relationship or start taking care of your health.”

Someone else added, “Just turned 30 and realized I’m a bad person. Lying, manipulation, cheating, etc. Went back into weekly therapy. Pretty determined not to be like this going forward, tho.”

You might have celebrated a few more birthdays than in your 20s, but that doesn’t mean you’re suddenly over the hill. Your 30s are like the Goldilocks zone of life- not too young or old, just right.

5. Not Exercising 

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Exercise isn’t about being a gym rat or training for a marathon. It’s about keeping your body in tip-top shape, staying healthy, and warding off those sneaky health issues that love to creep up in your 30s. 

Someone commented, “No, seriously, man, exercise. Do it. I’m 37, exercise daily, and feel just as good now as I did at 20 while all my sedentary friends complain constantly about how their bodies are falling the heck apart.”

Another replied, “Youth will cover your bad decisions until around 40, and then you will have to start taking care of yourself or pay dire consequences. Don’t start off already in the hole. It’s one most people can’t ever dig out of.”

6. Bad Diet

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A discerning Reddit user commented, “eating a bad diet.”

Another added, “My doc told me at the end of last year that I’m not 16 anymore, and now is the time in my life where I get to decide whether I want to see my daughters grow up or whether I wanna die of a heart attack in my 50s. That cut deep, but I got the message lol. Dropped 40 pounds since January and might be in the best shape of my life tbh.”

And let’s not even get started on the love affair with sugar. Those sugary snacks, drinks, and desserts! But uess what? They’re also the culprits behind those energy crashes and mood swings that make you question your sanity.

7. The Retirement Plan

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Retirement planning isn’t exactly a thrilling topic. But here’s the thing: time is your best friend when it comes to saving for retirement. The earlier you start, the more money you’ll have when you finally decide to kick back and sip on those margaritas by the beach.

A Reddit user wrote, “I see so many people who think “work until I die” is a retirement plan. You can’t and won’t. Your boss and you simply won’t let you. Ageism will get you laid off, and your body will break down on you. Put even a small amount regularly away now, and you’ll have something when you can’t or don’t want to work anymore. I started with 10% in a 401k.”

Another person shared similar thoughts and mentioned, “I also see the sentiment, “What if I die?” A lot. The answer to this question is another question: “But what if you live?” That’s what retirement is planning for.”

8. Friendships 

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One said, “Not Fostering Friendships”

Another replied, “As you enter your 30s, maintaining and nurturing friendships becomes more challenging. It’s a time when connections can fade, and forming new ones becomes harder. It’s very important to invest effort in the friendships you currently have. 

Edit: A few people have commented about what to do when people don’t reciprocate. My advice – keep trying! Everyone is underwater in their 30s; they likely won’t be able to make every attempt at outreach you make. But over time, as things become less hectic, they will remember you kept trying (without guilt), appreciate it, and return to you. But toxic people, yeah, cut those out!”

Your 30s are a time of growth, change, and self-discovery; your friends are there to witness and support that journey.

9. Your Identity

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Someone commented, “Not Preserving Your Identity.”

Someone else added, “Your 30s come with a whirlwind of conflicting priorities that can lead you to lose touch with your identity. It’s easy to forget what truly brings you joy and satisfaction. Maintain a hobby that gives your life purpose and regularly reflect on whether your job still fulfills your needs in terms of purpose, financial stability, and overall satisfaction.”

It’s not like we’re deliberately trying to lose ourselves. It’s just that life moves at warp speed, and sometimes, you get so caught up in the whirlwind that you forget what makes you, well, you.

10. Your Partner

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A Reddit user wrote, “Not Nurturing Your Romantic Relationship.”

Another replied, “Responsibilities increase in your 30s, like careers, parenthood, and caregiving for aging parents. It’s common for the most crucial relationship – your romantic partnership – to be inadvertently neglected. Avoid taking your partner for granted, assuming they’ll always be around, or treating them as an outlet for your worst moments.”

Your relationship needs fuel, and that fuel is quality time, affection, and communication. These things often get pushed aside when you’re caught up in the daily grind. But trust us, they’re the glue that holds your partnership together.

11. Getting Married

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One said, “Settling for a spouse.”

Someone else added, “See this SOOOOOOOOOO MUCH! People are getting married for the sake of getting married. As a consequence, I’m seeing divorces SOOOOOOOOOO MUCH too! Been on dates where it’s obvious the girl wants the title of wife more than actually being a wife.”

Moreover, settling for a spouse often means settling for a life that’s less than what you deserve. It’s like choosing a path that’s easy but not fulfilling. Your partner should be your teammate, confidant, and cheerleader, not just a warm body to fill a role.

12. Trends

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A discerning Reddit user commented, “Being concerned about not being the young, trendy generation anymore. Wear your skinny jeans all you want, millennial women!”

Another added, “I’m 31 and going back to my emo kid days. NO ONE CAN STOP ME.”

It’s easy to fall into this “uncool” trap, especially in our age of social media and constant comparison. You see Gen Z doing their thing and think, “Are we supposed to do that too?” But remember, trends are like fashion- what looks good on someone else might not suit your style.

13. Burnout Signals

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Now, it’s not like you’re willingly signing up for burnout. It’s just that life moves at the speed of light, and sometimes, you forget to hit the pause button. But spoiler alert: even superheroes need rest.

Someone commented, “Not listening to their burnout signals and just settling in for the long haul. You’re not going to make it. And if you do “make it,” you won’t like yourself or the sacrifices you had to make along the way.”

Another person shared similar thoughts and mentioned, “You’re an absolute legend for raising this. I spent the middle of my thirties in constant burnout and ended up with my body and mind failing me because I was so afraid that tackling things would mean letting everyone down. Schedule machine maintenance, or the machine will schedule it for you.”

14. Spending Too Much

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A Reddit user wrote, “Spend way too much money. Indeed. Lifestyle inflation can really take off in your 30s.”

Another replied, “Man, I had a great time reading the previous comments saying not to worry and carpe diem and enjoy my 30s, and you brought me back to reality.” 

But here’s the thing: spending way too much money in your 30s is like partying hard on a weeknight- it might feel great at the moment, but the hangover is brutal. You might be living large now, but what about your financial future? Retirement, anyone?

15. Expensive Houses

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One said, “Buying more home than they can afford and ending up house poor.”

Someone else added, “House poor 30s person checking in. It sucks, but I don’t regret it. The alternative was not a cheaper house; it was no house at all. That or a cheaper house in an actually horrible area where we’d be miserable. I am house-poor, there’s no doubt about it. But I like having a house.”

Your 30s are a time to build financial stability, not to become a slave to your home.

16. Stretching 

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Someone commented, “Not stretching. Like not necessarily before exercise (though absolutely that too) but just in general.”

Another added, “An MMA fighter made a really good point. Humans are the only mammals that don’t wake up and immediately stretch.”

It’s not just about touching your toes or doing splits like a gymnast. Regular stretching is like a secret handshake between you and your body. It keeps the blood flowing, the joints lubricated, and the muscles happy.

17. Bad Working Conditions 

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A Reddit user wrote, “Staying at a job they are severely unhappy at and accepting toxic work environments. Cough cough, teachers.”

Another replied, “Literally my dilemma at the moment. Public or private. Edit: I mean, my dilemma is moving out of public but being guilt-tripped into staying because think of the children.”

You might be earning a decent paycheck, and the thought of leaving that security behind can be paralyzing. But here’s the deal: no amount of money is worth sacrificing your mental and emotional well-being.

18. Sunscreen 

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One said, “Not wearing sunscreen and taking care of your skin. Especially your face.”

Someone else added, “I started wearing sunscreen on my face every day when I was 25, and at 32, there’s already a visible difference between me and my brother (one year younger) and some friends. I’m happy to try to age naturally and (hopefully) gracefully, and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Also had a skin cancer scare (on my back) earlier this year that has reinforced how important sunscreen is everywhere. Just do it.”

So, what’s the secret to a sunscreen success story? Find a sunscreen that suits your skin type, whether a lightweight lotion, a mattifying gel, or a mineral sunscreen.

19. Having Kids

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A discerning Reddit user commented, “Having kids because it’s “the right time,” even if they know they don’t have the right partner.”

Another replied, “This one is so interesting because I recently found out that women can be very focused on the ticking clock that is their fertility.

So many of my female friends (28/29 years old) have said they must have children as soon as possible. I’m not sure what to say to them, but I think they’ve got more time than they think and shouldn’t worry.”

Moreover, there’s this notion that love will conquer all, and your partner will magically transform into the perfect parent once the baby arrives. But here’s the reality check: Parenthood doesn’t fix relationship issues; it often magnifies them.

20. Drinking Alcohol

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Hangovers in your 30s are different from your 20s because that gets worse with age. That “two-day recovery” you once bragged about can quickly become a week of misery.

One said, “Thinking we can still drink stupid and recover for work in a couple of hours. My body is starting to feel it some days.”

Another added, “I can’t even drink moderately on work nights; it just kills my sleep. I have major sleep issues anyway, but alcohol makes them exponentially worse. Wasn’t like that in my 20’s.”

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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.