If you’re in your 20s, you probably still feel invincible and like you’ve got all the time in the world left before you really have to sort your finances/spending out. Living from pay to paycheck can mean buying all of the clothes, fancy Starbucks drinks, and nights out with your friends that you like, but it also means having an unstable future. It can also mean getting into bad habits that are very difficult to get out of later on down the line.
By getting your finances in order, you’ll actually feel far more relaxed around your money. You should find that you make smarter purchases and that you feel far more secure than ever before. You definitely don’t have to scrimp, save, and live a boring life to be smart with your cash. Getting things sorted now could mean living a better life much sooner than you think – way before retirement!
So, let’s talk money. Here are 15 smart things every 20 something should be doing:
1. Putting Money Into An Emergency Fund
You don’t want to put all of your spare cash into savings, despite what you may have heard. Putting all of your money into savings can be great while you’re saving an emergency fund, but once you’ve got about 6 months of living expenses, you can stop. No, this doesn’t mean spending the cash you were saving on whatever you like. It means doing something even smarter with it so you have the potential to build wealth and earn even more money. The thing with saving is that eventually, they depreciate. Any amount of money you save now is not going to be worth anywhere near as much in 10, 20, or 30 years.
Work out how much you need in your emergency fund (6 months to a year of living expenses, usually), and then you can plan what you’ll do when you’ve reached that goal. More on this later.
Coming up with a budget so you know your numbers is crucial. If you don’t know how much you have coming in and how much you have going out regularly, how can you plan for future events, savings, and little treats? Budgeting helps you to spread your money across your lifestyle easily and is a must if you want to take control. There apps that can help you to budget by showing you stats and pie charts designed to wake you up a bit and give you more accurate information on how you use your money.
3. Setting Financial Goals
You’re never too young to set financial goals. When you have set financial goals, you begin coming up with a plan to work towards them right away. What age would you like to be living alone if you’re not already? Would you like to be able to own your own car? There are all kinds of financial goals you could set, so make sure you set some that really resonate with you. Once you’ve come up with a few, start thinking of what you can do today to achieve them.
4. Finding Worthwhile Investments
Now, on to what you should be doing with your money once you have your emergency fund. The fact is, nobody ever got rich from working a few extra hours at work and plugging the money into their savings. Nobody ever became financially free that way, and nobody ever will. If you want to feel true freedom when it comes to money, the best thing you can do is look for worthwhile investments.
Getting started can be tricky, so look to see if you can find a suitable app or robo manager to help you make decisions. They are perfect for newbies who are just starting out and the sooner you start, the better. With money you don’t invest, look at starting businesses or passive income streams. Again, you can find more on this later!
5. Establishing Credit
If you haven’t established credit yet, you should do so if you don’t want to avoid struggling later on down the line. You should look to establish credit with a clear head, making sure you can afford whatever you decide to do. You can establish credit by taking out a loan and paying it back on time, such as one of these Guarantor Loans from Buddy Loans, or you can take out a phone contract, or buy something on finance. Whatever you do, you must make sure you pay the money back on time. You’re looking to build up a solid credit score. Failure to pay will mean a low credit score, and this will make it just as hard to secure a mortgage.
You know what they say; travel is one of the only things you can spend your money on that will make you richer. As you’re only in your 20s, saving and investing money is fantastic, but make sure you allocate a portion of it to exploring the world too. You can learn a lot about yourself this way, and you’ll likely regret it if you don’t do it later on. There are all kinds of inexpensive ways to travel. You don’t have to travel in luxury!
7. Developing A Positive Money Mindset
A positive money mindset is going to benefit you to no end. The more positive you are around money, the more you will likely find opportunities that bring it to you. Have you ever noticed that those who constantly complain about money never catch a break? And those who say good things about money always seem to have some? It’s all down to perspective, and yours can seriously impact this aspect of your life. Just read up on books like ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’, and ‘Think And Grow Rich’. There are lots of others out there, too.
8. Invest In Self Improvement
Self-improvement is a huge investment, so make sure you set some money aside to pay for yours. Buy books, go to seminars, and take part in courses. Know your weaknesses and strengths and work on becoming more self-aware. When you do this, you’ll become a more desirable employee and a more valuable person. You may realize you can sell something that other people want, or land a great position at a prestigious company. Learning should not stop when you leave school!
9. Living Below Your Means
Living below your means is important if you’re going to have money to do everything we’ve mentioned. It’s basically making sure that you’re not living paycheck to paycheck – that you resist the urge to buy whatever you want for short-term satisfaction and endorphins just because you can. If you can wait before buying something, the urge will usually wear off within a few weeks. You’ll save a fortune and won’t end up with so many unused gadgets lying around!
10. Figuring Out Value Before Purchasing
When you do need to buy something, buying cheap may not always be the answer. Buying cheap items mean buying again quickly, so you end up spending even more than you intended. Doing your research and getting the most value for your money is the best thing you can do before buying anything.
11. Paying Bills On Time
Paying your bills on time means building up your credit, and once you can do this you’ll realize adulting isn’t so bad after all. Try to practice the positive money mindset that we talked about earlier by being grateful for the bills you pay, as you have a lot more than lots of people out in the world today! Feel gratitude and you will often experience more wealth.
12. Working To Create Multiple Income Streams
You should never rely on one stream of income for your cash. There are all kinds of ways you can create income without doing too much work – the goal should be to create cash while you sleep. Look into passive income techniques. There are many channels dedicated to this on YouTube, and anybody can get started with a small amount of capital and determination.
13. Getting Insurance
Do you have insurance – health insurance, travel insurance, even gadget insurance? Insurance might seem like an unnecessary expense, but it can really take a weight off your shoulders if you break something or fall ill. You just need to make sure you read the small print and go with a trusted company.
14. Saving For Retirement
Whether you’re 21 or 29, you should be saving for retirement. The earlier the better, thanks to the magic of compounding. The sooner you start to save, the more money you’ll have when you actually need it, and your future self will thank you for it.
15. Become A Minimalist
Is there a way you can live a more minimalist lifestyle? Perhaps you could create a capsule wardrobe, or minimize the amount of items you bring into your life – if it isn’t beautiful or useful, don’t buy it!
Are you doing these smart things?