[dropcap]T[/dropcap]here’s no decade as definitive as your 20s. Here, every experience is new. This is the stage you start blossoming into the person you want to be. Whatever you do at your 20s will inevitably have an impact in your life for decades.
This is, therefore, the best time you can build the foundation of good habits that will help you mold your character, make the most out of your money in preparation for a better future and beat the perception that saving is only for the working class.
Here are eight tips you can start with today to begin managing your money and establishing good financial habits in your 20s:
- Learn to budget
A budget is a plan for spending, saving and investing money to achieve one’s financial goals. It is the first step towards becoming a responsible adult with financial independence.
Budgeting might seem restrictive, but it’s really not. Instead, this habit gives you the freedom to tell your money where it should go, and also encourages you to live within your means.
You can, for instance, write down all the expenses you currently have, and figure out how much you need per month to cover them. Then you can use a cash-envelope or digital system to track what you’re spending.
- Start saving for your retirement
This might not make sense to you now, but saving for your future, especially for your retirement, will make you financially stable once the time comes to hang your boots.
Savings generally represent only one part of an individual’s assets and, unlike investments, usually come with minimal exposure to risk and the funds are more readily accessible.
Try to have an account and save a little portion of your monthly salary towards it. Try at least to save 10% of your total salary every month (the higher, the better).
Be patient, and live as frugally as possible so you can save money for the things you really want. And even though retirement seems far away, put any extra cash you can in your account and this will eventually pay off.
- Have your emergency fund kitty
Emergencies can happen, most especially in times that you do not expect. So, it is better to cultivate the habit of saving up for your emergency fund.
Medical expenses can get pretty expensive, so saving money as early as now will give you enough reserves should the time come that you need to spend it.
- Get a side hustle
Whether you work or attend school, always make an effort to supplement your main source of income. In your 20s, flexibility could allow one to get freelancing opportunities or even part-time jobs. It may not necessarily be the career of your choice but could be something you like doing, but let it earn you something extra that will improve your income.
- Start investing
Investing is an important tool in wealth creation and learning how to use this tool wisely, especially in one’s 20s, is a vital step in the journey to financial independence.
It is in our 20s that we start making choices about investments we would wish to own in the near future. You might be thinking of the kind of house you would want to live in the next 5 years and other ventures you might have interest in.
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You can unleash the power of compound interest by starting to invest early. In fact, how much you save and invest can become more important than the size of what you are paid.
Dividing your goals into short-term and long-term and choosing investments that will help you to achieve them is very crucial at this step.
- Seek financial literacy
Understanding finance may seem mind boggling especially at this age, but taking small steps in order to become comfortable with all aspects of finance goes a long way.
Try to have a wide read on financial matters. This you can achieve by reading financial journals, newspapers or even listening to online audios from financial advisors.
Financial literacy will take you a long way to understand how you can manage your personal finances.
- Be content
Contentment does not come easy. It’s something we must challenge ourselves with every day — to stop comparing, and to stop trying to “keep up” with those who are further down the road than you are.
Being happy right where you are takes practice but your soul will be filled with so much joy, and you’ll be able to turn any circumstance into a positive learning experience.
Don’t give up. Learn to love what you have and focus on the things that last.
- Start settling your debts
Before you save for future dreams, you need to get rid of any and all debt as soon as possible.
Repaying your debts in full will allow you to think of your future more instead of constantly thinking of that debt that you still have. Use this time to get a second job, or do odds jobs to put money towards each balance. Don’t be afraid of hard work — it never kills.
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Being young means we have more energy and can create a more stable future by putting in the extra effort today.