The Money Goals You Should Have In Your 20s
I’m embarrassed to say it, but when I was in my 20s the last thing on my mind was saving for the future. My future seemed so far in the distance, it barely existed. I was a “live for the moment” kind of girl. And I did exactly that – splashing the cash on overseas adventures, crazy nights out and new clothes.
I wish I’d been more savings savvy because now I have nothing solid to show for that period, apart from some great memories. What did I think was going to happen? A house would magically become a financial possibility just because I’d hit my thirties – a time when you’re supposed to have it together? Or that suddenly I’d find money in the multiple savings accounts I’d NOT set myself up with?
I’m not saying I wish I’d spent my twenties carefully counting every penny but I do regret not setting myself up for an easier existence today.
Bobbi Rebell, Author of How to Be a Financial Grown up, believes the key to your 20’s is building a strong financial foundation for your future, as well as starting to form good habits. Chances are there isn’t the obligation of family, kids or dependant parents at this stage, so time is on your side.
“You may have a low pay check at this point but that’s no excuse; that income is pretty much all for you. Sure, your income may be higher in your 30s but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have more money available to save, pay off debt or invest.” Bobbi says.
So what areas should we financially focus on in our twenties? Can we do it and still have a life? Bobbi says yes, we just need to adopt a few plans and mindsets as well. Here’s what we need to be focussing on:
#1 Be intentional with money
This means knowing where your money is going. If it’s on festivals and take aways, that’s fine – but you should plan and budget for it.
“Often in our 20s we just aren’t intentional when it comes to spending,” Bobbi explains. “It’s really important to have a clear idea where your money is going.”
#2 Focus on income increase rather than a spending decrease
Yes, we should keep on top of our pointless purchases, but Bobbi says increasing income should be priority number one.
“I think we focus too much on cutting back rather than concentrating on how to make more. Increasing your income is better than cutting costs, so I say, have your occasional avocado toast but earn that raise at the same time!”
#3 Automate EVERYTHING.
Day-to-day management of our finances can be such a yawn fest. It can stressful keeping on top of all our bills and payments. Automating makes it simple: it adopts the “set it, forget it strategy,” where you just use systems to manage your incomings and outgoings while you carry on with life.
Bobbi believes it’s a must for all of us when it comes to saving or investing and sets us up with good habits for the future. “The key is to automate so you forget you’re doing it and aren’t tempted to use the money somewhere else.”
#4 Maximise your work benefits
Jobs can include serious perks. From free courses to gym memberships, take advantage. Courses can set you up for better roles in the future and you could make big savings on activities you’d usually fork out for.
“Even if you don’t intend on being in a job long term, you should still use the benefits on offer,” recommends Bobbi. “Plus make sure to build your network of contacts up as theses can be resources for your entire career.”
#5 Practise paying your debts
Again, it’s wise to start early and form good habits. “I’d advise tackling the debts with the highest interest rates. As long as debts get paid, it’s up to you how,” Bobbi advises.
#6 Credit ratings
This is one of the biggest regrets of my 20s. I believed I was financially awesome because I didn’t have a credit card or owe anyone anything. I didn’t know the lack of a student loan and other debts would work against me because of a non-existent credit history. The irony still annoys me to this day.
“Credit ratings are important if you want to be a financial grown up. Without a good one, you won’t be able to borrow for assets like a car or home. The best thing to do is be a good customer; spend money but pay your bills on time and in full,” says Bobbi.
#7 Emergency Funds
When I was in my 20s I was invincible. Or so I thought. I wasn’t going to break my back cutting shapes on the dance floor, lose my job or get thrown out of my mouldy flat. Right? Wrong. Relying on luck can backfire financially, so having an emergency fund is key.
“In your 20s you may not have the experience to plan for things that seem unexpected. You may have an accident requiring a big medical bill or be a freelancer who doesn’t get paid. Life happens. Money is messy. Emergency plans are never a bad idea,” Bobbi says.
A published freelance writer from print to online, Katy’s passion is honest authentic writing. From the mundane experience to a sensational observation, Katy always finds a way to voice what she sees. Relatable and quirky, she writes with warmth and familiarity. She also loves lists, matching socks and edamame beans. You can find her on Twitter @whatktdidnextfw and Facebook.