A lack of financial experience, combined with student loan debt, entry-level jobs, and the desire to travel can make it difficult for young people to properly manage their money.
But no matter where your path in life is taking you, it’s so important to start learning the basics or managing money at an early age. With a little help from us, you’ll be in control of your finances in no time!
What Does Financial Success Mean to You?
Despite what movies have led us to believe, financially successful people aren’t just those living in mansions and driving a fleet of luxury cars. Though it differs a bit from person-to-person, being financially successful really just means that you are not worried about how you’re going to pay off your bills or afford everyday necessities, like clothes, food, and housing. And by that definition, it’s clear that everyone can be financially successful, no matter how much you make!
Becoming Financially Successful
Track your spending.
Before you can make any changes or improvements, you need to know what you’re spending money on right now. For one week, write down every dollar that you spend in a small notebook.
Analyze your spending.
Now it’s time to take a look at what you’re spending money on. Is your money going towards necessities, like rent and food? Or are you spending it on non-necessities, like streaming services and eating out?
Make a change.
Now comes the hard part. Though it may not seem like it, the steps you take towards financial stability in your twenties will have a huge impact on the rest of your life.
- Small purchases add up. In a year’s time, where do you think most of your money has gone to? Even if you took a lavish vacation that year, that’s probably not the answer. Little purchases like coffee and lunch are where most Americans spend the majority of their money. If you want to cut back on your spending, start bringing lunch to school or work and brew your own coffee at home!
- Use more cash. Using physical money is another great way to cut back on your spending. With credit cards, you can’t really see how much you’re spending until well after the bill has come. But with money, you can see your cash dwindling every time you open your wallet — which may make you think twice about ordering that second drink or expensive outfit.
- Start saving for retirement. We know, we know — the last thing someone in their twenties is thinking about is retirement. But the best way to save for your future is to start saving small amounts when you’re young. Even if it’s just a few dollars a month, start contributing to a 401(k) now or put money in a savings account that you won’t touch until retirement.
- Start building credit. Having a credit card is a big responsibility, but it’s also very important. The more credit you build, the easier it will be for you to get a loan when it comes time to buy a car, a house, or rent an apartment.
- Pay off your debts. Believe it or not, some debt is good. Paying off debt is a great way to prove that you’re financially responsible and it will boost your credit score. But the operative words here are “paying off.” Each month that your car bill, student loans, or mortgage comes in, pay it off right away and in full.
- Create an emergency fund. Separate from your savings and retirement should be an emergency fund. If you, unfortunately, lose your job or fall ill, an emergency fund will lessen the financial burden. Most economists suggest having an emergency fund that you could live off of for six months.
- Be a safe investor. Especially if you aren’t well-versed in the stock market, you shouldn’t risk lots of money on risky investments. Instead, it’s better to invest in low-return, but safe investments.
- Ask for advice: The only thing better than learning from your own mistakes is learning from others’ mistakes. No one ever said that managing your finances was easy, so don’t be afraid to ask for help!
But in the end, don’t let money control you.
While it’s important to save and be financially responsible, having a lot of money isn’t the most important thing in the world. Your twenties is also the time to find a job you love, even if the salary isn’t great. It’s also the time to travel and splurge here-and-there.
Looking for advice like this, as well as much, much more? Debra Solomon is a professional life coach for adults on the autism spectrum. To inquire about details, including fees and scheduling, please contact Debra Solomon at [email protected] or at 516-510-7637. Or complete a brief form so we may contact you.