Your 20s are an opportune moment to begin learning about personal finance. The decisions you make now can have a lasting effect on how money manages in the future.
Fortunately, there are ways to avoid making common money missteps during your 20s. Learn to budget, impulse buy less and start saving for retirement early.
1. Not Creating a Budget
Budgeting is an effective way to monitor your spending habits and prevent overspending. It also helps you save for the future and build an emergency fund.
When you’re young, it can be easy to get caught up in the rush of spending without considering how much money comes in and goes out each month. That is why creating a budget at an early age is such an advantageous practice; doing so will set you up for financial success in the future.
Establishing an accurate picture of your income and expenses is essential, as well as keeping tabs on fixed expenses like rent, groceries, utilities and healthcare fees. Create a monthly budget for these items and determine what percentage of gross income you’re allotting towards them.
2. Impulse Buying
Impulsive buying is a common consumer behavior that can quickly deplete your savings. It often stems from emotions such as stress, excitement and boredom.
Marketing tactics that encourage shoppers to make impulse purchases may also have an effect on purchase intentions. Examples of such incentives include sales promotions, free vouchers, refunds and giftbacks.
In your 20s, resisting impulse shopping will enable you to save more and avoid debt. Furthermore, it will foster a healthy relationship with money that helps you reach all of your financial objectives.
3. Not Saving for Retirement
Saving for retirement is a critical financial habit you should develop at an early age. Not only does it lay the groundwork for long-term financial security, but also allows you to potentially double your savings over time.
Utilize workplace retirement plans and employer matches, health savings accounts, and individual retirement accounts such as a Roth IRA to grow your nest egg tax-free.
Investing in growth-oriented investments such as stock market mutual funds can help you build a nest egg that may be enough to support your desired lifestyle. Simply setting aside a small amount every month now allows compound interest to do its magic.
4. Taking Loans for Big Purchases
One of the biggest financial mistakes a 20-something can make is taking out loans for large purchases. This could prove disastrous, as you might end up with an overwhelming credit card debt load and exorbitant interest rates.
Instead of delaying a major purchase like a vacation or luxury handbag, try saving for one. A great way to do this is by setting aside a portion of each paycheck into an account specifically designated for this purpose.
If you do choose to take out a loan for your major purchase, be sure to find the best deal available and pay off the balance in full every month. Doing this can help build an excellent credit history and save you money in the long run.
5. Not Living Within Your Means
One of the most common mistakes you can make in your 20s is failing to live within your means. This may occur for a variety of reasons.
First, it can be tempting to try to keep up with your peers by spending more than what you make or have. Doing this can lead to excessive debt and poor financial health, so being proactive about managing debt is essential for long-term success.
Instead, try to identify what you truly desire and need. Doing this can help you stop feeling deprived and live more financially responsiblely; additionally, it helps align your spending with your values.