If you’re like most women, your finances aren’t something you’re concerned with in your 20s. You’re more interested in establishing a career, traveling and seeing the world and developing relationships. In my 20s, I didn’t want to deal with finances. I wanted to push a those matters into my 30s thinking that it would be more useful to me at that point.
The truth is that your 20s define who you are. Along with so many other developments, you develop your spending habits in your 20s and they can follow you your whole life. If you’re financially responsible from the beginning, life is easier.
1) A budget
I can’t stress how important a budget is. Unless you know what you’re working with and how much your expenses really are, you’re spending blindly. That’s exactly what I did in my 20s and ended up in a 5-figure debt that took me a while to pay off. Budgeting is easy and teaches you how to spend responsibility.
If you get yourself in the habit of saving in your 20′s, it will be a way of life that is easy to maintain. Few of us think about retirement in our 20′s, but saving about 5% of a $40,000 from the age of 25 to 65 at a 6% rate of return means that you can end up with $479,241. That’s roughly $5 a day – a latte a day! Save 10% and that figure is $830,678.
3) An emergency savings
I’ve had emergencies I didn’t account for in the past and ended up scrambling to get money together to pay for them. Things we don’t anticipate happens in life – we lose jobs, we have floods in our basements, our cars break down, etc. Having an emergency fund means that we have peace of mind and when those emergencies come up, we can focus on them rather than the stress of how we’ll pay for them.
Building your career starts in your 20s. Although my debt was a result of my irresponsible use of credit cards (several of them), I’ll never suggest that you cut up your credit cards. You need credit and one of the best ways to build it is to use your credit card and ensure that you pay it off. By doing this you’re showing that you can be trusted with credit.
Although we should do these things in our 20s, it’s never too late. I didn’t do many of these things in my 20s and had to rediscover them in my 30s. It’s tough, but it’s never to late to start at any chance. Financial responsibility is something that can be learned and implemented at any age.
Tagged as: credit cards, debt, gen y, money, personal finance, twentysomethings