It seems that our 20s are full of decisions. These are decisions that set us up for success down the road; the graduation from college, the start of a first job, and becoming financially stable. The financial choices we make in our 20s can reap many benefits down the road, so here are some smart money moves to make to get your adulting on the right track.
Determine your cash flow.
Your cash flow isn’t just what you bring home every week in your paycheck. It’s the accumulation of all your bills and living expenses—it may be a number that’s drastically different from what you’re expecting. To determine your cash flow, it’s important to take a look at all your monthly expenses through a budgeting journal. Write down every single expense you have for an entire month, and then minus this number from your monthly income. That’s your cash flow, which will give you a better idea of your wealth, investments, and how much you can spend on larger purchases.
You never know what will happen in the wild ride we call life, which makes it incredibly important to invest in insurance so you are protected at all times. One example of this is income protection insurance. What is income protection insurance? This is an insurance policy that pays benefits to policyholders who are incapacitated and are unable to work due to an accident or an illness. Having this insurance policy will give you peace of mind that no matter what happens, you will be financially secure.
Invest whenever you can.
Most employers offer some sort of investment opportunity, where they match money put into an investment fund for you to use during retirement. This is free money and really adds up over time — so it is important that you take full advantage of it! A best practice is to ask your employer what their matching rate is, and sign up to put the same amount of money away every time you are paid to get the most out of it. What’s better is that usually, this money can come out of your paycheck automatically, so you won’t have time to miss it!
Develop a debt repayment plan.
Do not ignore your debt, as ignoring what you owe can cause detriment down the road in the form of lower credit scores, problems finding a mortgage, and large interest payments. So as soon as you have secured your first job, make it a point to put a little bit down towards all your debts, no matter what.
Avoid making unnecessary purchases.
This may be easier said than done, but there are plenty of ways you can avoid unnecessary purchases as a way to help you save. For example, don’t feel the need to purchase electronics new every time something is wrong with them. Seek an iphone repair service instead of purchasing brand new, as this option is a cost-effective way to bulk up your wallet and save in case of emergencies.
Build an emergency fund.
In addition to insurance, you’ll want an emergency fund for an extra precaution. As a good rule of thumb, you should have enough savings to cover three to six months of unemployment. To get to this goal, put away 10% of your paycheck every pay period.
Apply for your first credit card.
Building up your credit history is important to do as soon as you can. So, apply for a credit card with a low limit so you can slowly but surely show financial lenders you are a trustworthy candidate when it comes to larger purchases and loan requests.
If you can, stop taking on loans from your parents and loved ones. Becoming self-sufficient is a great boost of confidence and will help you feel self-assured with your finances.
Buy, don’t rent.
Renting is throwing your money away for an asset that will not be yours when you move out. While it can seem daunting, consider purchasing a home before you rent something. You’ll save tons of money in the long road, and if you can’t afford to purchase a home of your own, there is nothing wrong with living with your parents.
With these money tips in mind, you’ll be on your way to creating a solid monetary foundation for years to come.