Archive Post: This post was originally published on 5/17/16
Learning financial responsibility in your twenties can be a total game changer for your future. By getting the following six lessons before you turn thirty, you can set yourself up for more financial freedom and peace later in life.
1. Get a side hustle now. Seriously, while you still have the energy and time, get a side hustle. Not only will you save some coin by not spending every evening at happy hour after work, but you will also be earning some cash during that time.
2. Every dollar has a place. In other words, get a budget! Create a budget and assign every dollar to a category. If you have money left over you will spend it on dumb stuff, instead allocate it towards financial goals so you aren’t tempted to waste in on yet another one of Kylie’s lip packs.
3. Set financial goals. Whether they are paying off debt by a certain deadline, saving for a retirement or a home, start thinking about your financial future.
4. Make saving for retirement a necessity. To the previous point, if you are debt free, then saving for retirement via an IRA or 401k should be a fixed cost in your budget. The younger you start saving the more of the compounding interest you can rack in. Plus did you know it’s nearly impossible for someone who started saving for retirement at age 30 to catch up to someone who started saving for retirement at age 20?
5. Building credit takes time, destroying credit takes minutes. Seriously, every time you open a retail card for that 20% off discount, you hurt your credit. Then factor in the fact that most Americans are living in financial chaos, (for example: forgetting to pay the bill on that retail card), and it has the potential to hurt you even more!
If any of these are you:
– You’re new to credit (as in just started using it in the last 6 years) or
-If you don’t have an emergency fund with six to nine months of income in it, or
-If you have had a checkered past with credit
A good rule of them is to only charge what you can pay off in 24 hours.
6. Live below your means. In your twenties you will probably make some nice jumps in your career, which come with nice salary boosts. You should use that as an opportunity to live below your means. Don’t fall into the trap of lifestyle inflation to match your new paycheck. Remember, just because your co-worker comes in with new designer shoes every week, does not mean they don’t have a buttload of debt they are paying off. Dave Ramsey says you have to “live like no one else today, so you can live like no one else tomorrow”… meaning that most Americans are in debt, and if we live below our means when we are young, we don’t have to be tied by debt in our future.