Yesterday we gave you 5 smart money moves for 20-somethings. Today, we’re giving you more. It’s never too early to start yourself on the right path for financial success. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to break bad habits and form good ones.
Here are five more things every 20-something should do to protect their financial future.
- Emergency Fund: You should begin saving from your very first paycheck. Putting money aside, even a small amount, will get you used to saving from the start. Consider putting a portion of each check into your savings account before you even have a chance to spend it. Set an initial goal of $1,000 for your emergency fund, but work to bring it to three-to-six months of expenses as soon as you can.
- Retirement: Even if you’re not going to retire for another 50 years, it’s important to start saving now. If your employer offers a 401(k), sign up. If they offer a match, set aside at least enough to take full advantage. Raise the deduction from your paycheck annually until you hit 10%. Thanks to compound interest, your money should continue to grow even if the market fluctuates.
- Cars: Don’t buy more car than you need. Brand new cars lose value quickly – generally before you’re done paying it off. That hefty car payment may not seem like a big deal now, but as life gets more complicated (and it will!), you may wish you didn’t have the obligation. Skip the fancy car and save your cash instead.
- Friends: Your friends may be spending like crazy, but that doesn’t mean you have to do what they do. Thinking ahead and planning for the future, even when it’s not what everyone else is doing, will leave you much better off when it’s time to buy a house or make another big purchase. They may not care if they are knee-deep in debt by 30, but you know better.
- Home: Depending on what you’re planning to do for work, you may not have many options when it comes to where you live. However, be mindful of where you call home. Again, it may not seem like a big deal now to pay a high rent to be where the action is, but spending too much on housing if it means you can’t save will hurt you down the line.
Are you seeing the trend? Living below your means and making room for savings now will be the key to unlocking your future. Sooner or later, we all face some lean times. When you have your savings to as a cushion, you’ll be glad you were so careful in your 20s!
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