Your 20s are all about experiences, adventure and friends. But how do things change once you’ve hit the big 3-0?

Cool group of friends having a summer gathering in a garden

Cancelled plans, quiet nights in, and delighting in a good sunny day to do your laundry — the same things that would have made your toes curl in your 20s have actually become some of life’s simple pleasures now that you’ve reached your 30s. Maybe you haven’t fully retired from your wild old ways, but we can probably all agree that things change from your 20s to your 30s.

On top of some common physical changes, you might also notice your priorities and lifestyle choices shifting too. Suddenly, a night of small-talking your way around a crowded room seems less appealing than a low-key dinner with close friends. You may feel like foregoing stamps in your passport in favour of putting your savings into a new investment or project. Or maybe you’ve decided to bid farewell to your flatmates, to take the exciting leap of moving in with your partner.

If this sounds familiar, it’s not surprising. A recent study by the University of Greenwich has examined how values change with age, with self-enhancing values like being adventurous and thrill-seeking decreasing, while a sense of security becomes more important, as well as helping others and seeing different points of view.

Here are some common ways that your priorities may start to shift as you’re approaching 30 and some thought starters on protecting the things you value.

Finding Your Purpose

While your 20s is more about collecting as many experiences as possible, your 30s may usher in a new focus on the things that matter most to you.

After being out in the workforce for a few years, studying or travelling, you’ll be equipped with a better idea of what actually makes you happy, and what you’d prefer to leave behind as a detour or lesson. While responsibilities may increase, so too will your sense of self, and what you want out of life. Pretty exciting, right?

MORE: Does your personality change when you turn 30?

Quality, Not Quantity

The old adage rings truer than ever when it comes to friendships in your 30s. As your life becomes busier and you take on more responsibility, it’s only natural that you’ll become more picky about who you chose to spend your spare time with.

A recent study from the US has shed light on this, explaining that in your 30s, ‘intimate social interaction’ and ‘emotional closeness’ with others becomes the focus of your relationships and interaction. This is a huge change from socialising in your 20s, when ‘social interaction quantity’ and the ‘accumulation of knowledge and contacts’ is the name of the game.

Life Goals

If the word ‘commitment’ made you want to run for the hills in your 20s, don’t be surprised if the idea of owning your own home or taking your career to the next level start to give you the warm and fuzzies once you join the 30+ club.

Maybe you’re coupled-up and are ready to commit to a mortgage together, or single and enjoying financial success, and looking to buy your first home. Or you might be on your journey to the top of your chosen career.

Either way, the 30s are often a time when people think about protecting the life they've built and the things that are important to them. If things take a turn for the worst and you’re out of action due to illness or injury, income protection cover can replace up to 75% of your salary.

MORE: Starting your career? Here's a checklist to get you off to a running start

Family Focus

For many of us, building a lifelong partnership with someone, and potentially bringing new life into the world, becomes a goal in our 30s. Around this time, you may also start to experience the loss of loved ones.

It’s only natural then, that your mind will turn to wanting to protect those that you care about, whether it’s your partner or little ones. It's also a time when people often think about what type of cover might be right for them─from life insurance to income protection.

Important things you should know: The information contained on this page is of a general nature only and has been provided without taking into account your specific objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider the appropriateness of the information in light of your particular needs and circumstances. You should consider the Product Disclosure Statement for full Terms & Conditions (available at Medibank life insurance products are issued by the insurer, Swiss Re Life & Health Australia Limited ABN 74 000 218 306; Australian Financial Services Licence No. (AFSL) 324908, Level 36, Tower Two, International Towers Sydney, 200 Barangaroo Avenue, Sydney NSW 2000. Medibank life insurance products are distributed by Greenstone Financial Services Pty Ltd (GFS) ABN 53 128 692 884; AFSL 343079, 58 Norwest Boulevard, Bella Vista NSW 2153 and promoted by its Authorised Representative Medibank Private Limited ABN 47 080 890 259; Authorised Representative No. 286089, 720 Bourke Street, Docklands VIC 3008. Medibank Private Limited is also authorised by GFS to distribute Medibank Starter Life Insurance.

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