This article is part of the Money Matters for All Ages group writing project. See the bottom of this article for the full list of participants and links to their articles. Please check back daily as I will update the links as new articles are posted! Also, if you are blogger and would like to join into the discussion, feel free!
The twenties are an exciting time in one’s life. I know, I’m still living my 20′s – although on the tail end. For those in your 20′s, now is a great time to set the financial pace for the rest of your life. While you may not think it matters much now, setting a strong financial foundation now will pay dividends later in life.
Set your Financial Foundations
Your 20′s is the decade that will set the pace for the rest of your adult life. You are on your own financially, and no one will take care of you and your financial future; it is up to you! Now is the time to learn how to make a budget, spend less than you earn, create good spending habits, and invest – all while trying to live a normal life and not deprive yourself. Don’t worry, it is possible to be financially secure in your 20′s and still enjoy life!
Get out of debt
Debt will drag you down and prevent you from achieving not only financial freedom, but the freedom to enjoy your life. Unfortunately, when you are just starting out, it is very likely you incurred some debt along the way. Student loans, a car payment, furnishing your first apartment, buying your first professional wardrobe, etc. The important thing is to stop adding new debt, and reduce the debt you currently have.
A great way to quickly eliminate your debt is to snowball your debt payments by paying your minimums plus adding whatever extra money you can find to the principal. Here are more debt reduction principles.
Build an emergency fund
An emergency fund gives you a buffer to help keep you from going into debt, or further into debt if you are already there. Everyone needs a different amount in their emergency fund based on their family and career situation. A good rule of thumb is to have 3-6 months of salary easily accessible in an interest bearing savings account. You never know when an emergency will strike, so be prepared.
Invest in yourself and your career
Your career and your ability to create income is your greatest asset. During your twenties, you should be more concerned with taking the job that offers you the most professional opportunity – not necessarily the highest salary. Professional opportunity is the currency that will define your options as your career progresses and lead you to more satisfying and higher paying positions.
Your twenties is a great time to add to your resume by earning a master’s degree, taking professional certifications or training courses, or working in several different positions to broaden your professional horizons.
Invest for your retirement
While you are in your twenties, you may not earn the largest salary of your life. But in my opinion, the money you invest in your twenties is more important than the larger amounts you may be able to invest when you are in your 40′s. Why? Time. The longer you have your money invested, the longer your money will compound and grow. Time is the greatest advantage to any investment, and in your 20′s, time is the thing you have the most of.
Prepare for life changes
Your twenties will prove to have many major life changes. Graduating college, major changes in employment, getting marriage, children, buying a home, backpacking through Europe for 6 months and spending your life savings… Who knows what will happen? As part of preparing for life changes, you should also take great care to protect your financial interests, including earning money from alternate sources and buying disability and life insurance.
Take calculated risks
You will never succeed unless you put yourself out there. Your 20′s is the decade you have the best opportunity to take a chance and make something big happen. Start your own company, travel the world, write a novel, or take a job simply for opportunity or pure enjoyment rather thank strictly based on pay. There is little reward that comes without risk. Do your research, weigh the odds, and do something amazing.
Live your life and enjoy it
Life is not measured in dollar$ and ¢ents. Your 20′s is perhaps the most exciting decade in terms of pure excitement and change. Most people in the young 20′s have fewer obligations preventing them from going out and doing something spontaneous. Use this time to your advantage. Have fun. Live your life. Find yourself. Now is the best time to do it.
Here’s are the other articles in the Money Matters for All Ages series:
- Introduction at My Dollar Plan.
- Preschoolers - Teaching Preschoolers About Money at I’ve Paid for This Twice Already.
- Children and Pre-Teens – Personal Finance for Children and Pre-Teens at Being Frugal.
- Teenagers - Teach Your Teen the Basics of Money Management at Gather Little by Little.
- College Age – College Money Matters at Mrs. Micah.
- 20′s - Financal Advice For Your Twenties at Remodeling This Life.
- 30′s - Money Matters for All Ages – The Chaotic Thirties at Moolanomy and Personal Finance Advice For Your 30’s at My Two Dollars.
- 40′s – The Forty Year Old’s Wakeup Call at Credit Withdrawal.
- 50′s - Retirement Objectives in your 50′s at Credit Withdrawal.
- 60′s and beyond - In your 60’s? Use your financial freedom wisely at Rocket Finance.
- Retirement - 4% Withdrawal Rule for Retirement at Quest For Four Pillars.
- Wrap-up - Money Matters for All Ages: The Complete Guide at My Dollar Plan.