Between paying all your bills, advancing in your career, maintaining a social life, and managing your finances, your 20s can get busy and saving anything can feel overwhelming.
Luckily, the most important thing to do money-wise in your 20s isn’t to save a certain amount or invest a particular way. It’s to develop a willingness to have tough conversations with yourself and make sacrifices in the name of your financial security. Here are 8 steps to teach and help cultivate the habit of saving in your youth towards a better future.
1. Get your key financial documents in order.
You, not your parents should have your birth certificate, Social Security card and other official IDs in your possession. Also keep a list of all your banking and investment accounts, household bills along with any online usernames and passwords (try and remember all).
2. Develop a marketable skill.
Before you can start worrying about what to do with your money, you need to earn some. Think in terms of your career, not just a job. Because let’s face it: You’re probably not going to love your first job, and it won’t be your last job. But you should try to make the best of it. Don’t be afraid to experiment. You may need to take risks when you’re younger. You may take one job over another and find it doesn’t work out. When you’re younger, you have the ability to do that.
3. Work on your online presence.
Like it or not, your social media activity is viewable by the entire Web-surfing world, including all your current or potential employers. Add to your positive persona by pumping up the good stuff in cyberspace. For example, your LinkedIn account should be a glowing representation of your professional potential. And if you’re an expert on a certain subject, you can show off your knowledge via Twitter, Tumblr, WordPress or other sites.
4. Make an effort to reduce calling on Mom and Dad.
You love your parents, and what better way to show them than to set them free of your financial responsibilities? In your twenties, the main goal is becoming self-sufficient. Look to get off of your parents’ payroll and onto your own.
Obviously, financial independence starts with a job. You also ought to cut the cord by getting your own insurance, car, cell-phone plan, home, everything. Slightly less obvious, you don’t want to resort to getting help from Mom and Dad even in a pinch hence, the need for an emergency fund.
Of course, all of this is easier said than done. If you do need financial assistance from your parents once in a while, approach them maturely and responsibly.
5. Develop a budget.
Once you’re bringing home the money, you’ll have to figure out how to slice it up. Without a budget, you risk overspending on discretionary items and under-saving for important big-ticket purchases.
The big thing is really to differentiate between your needs, your wants and your dreams. First, lay out all your daily expenses (such as transportation costs and food bills) and recurring monthly payments (rent, utilities, and debts). When you know where all your money is going, you can more easily see how to cut costs.
6. Make a plan on how to repay your debts.
Debt is a reality for most young adults. But letting it linger or, worse, grow can set you back for years to come in the form of greater interest payments and lower credit scores.
Work out a plan to tackle your credit card debt, too. Hopefully, being so young, you haven’t had time to bury yourself in much. But if you’ve been quick on the swipe, your first step is to establish a budget and check the way you spend. You should then start paying down debt on your highest-rate cards first.
7. Be prepared for Emergency.
Times of emergency occurs every time, and as a young adult, you are responsible for protecting yourself and all you hold dear. When horrible things happen to you say, a trip to the emergency room or a fire in your apartment having backup savings may save you from looking out for thousands of naira to settle bills all at once.
8. Start saving for retirement.
Retirement seems like forever from now. But it’s more important than ever for us to focus on this savings goal as soon as possible. “Our generation, the twenty- and thirty something’s, may be the first to have to save for retirement for as long as your work career, The sooner you start saving, the better.
The sooner you start making a financial plan for yourself, the brighter your future will be. Building habits, especially in your twenties, is so important for long-term success. Start Saving Something Today!