You often hear these day’s people say 30 is the new 20, which is probably the main reason why so many people overlook the importance of moving towards career, personal and financial goals in your twenties.
More and more people are using their 20’s to explore new skills, travel, socialise and make the most of their responsibility-free years. So we should, I still am! However, in saying that your 20s is still a great time to set the stage for your financial future.
A lot of people have a misconception that in your 20’s you have to sacrifice all the fun stuff in order to get ahead. This is simply not true, not even close. With a little financial literacy it’s possible to enjoy your 20’s and set yourself up for financial success later in life.
Here’s 11 financial goals to consider in your 20’s to help get you started;
Invest in yourself
One of the most baffling things is by the time you’ve completed school and then go onto university you have done over 15 years of education. During that 15 years not one class or curriculum has taken the time to teach us the life skills of managing our personal finances. Our parents are our number one influence but most aren’t experts either because they were never taught.
Like everything in life, it is up to you to teach yourself how to take care of your personal finances. It doesn’t have to cost much or take a lot of time but it’s so important. Subscribe to a blog here or listen to an audio book there and before you know it you start to become financially literate.
If you’re looking for a good blog post to subscribe to, check out some of these top Australian blog posts for personal finances, click here
Create a budget (good saving habits)
Don’t freeze in the headlights over this one; Knowing what money is going in and out during the month is critical to your financial success. This is called your cash flow, and the best way to manage it is to get on a budget (and track your spending).
I use Personal Capital (it’s FREE!) as the budgeting / account-monitoring service for my finances (it’s sort of like Mint.com but better). I love it!
Start a side hustle
It would be nice to be a successful head of a tech start-up or go straight into an executive role of your chosen career. However, for most of us in our 20’s we have to start at bottom of the food chain and down there doesn’t pay well.
Side hustles are crucial to surviving your 20s, and while most people do it for some quick cash, those who are smart will take a different approach to it. The key to a side hustle is finding something you’re good at and becoming better.
Some side hustling ideas that are popular are; create an App, setup an online store, rent out a room on Air bnb, ghostwriting or blogging, dropshipping, photography or DJing.
Live within your means
Society is so materialistic and there’s so much pressure when we are young to fit in and be liked. There is a ‘buy now and worry about cost tomorrow’ culture for a lot of people which is a toxic mentality.
Cutting back may not sound like fun, but spending less money than you have, can lead to a pretty prosperous future. Instead of struggling to meet your basic financial obligations or letting your spending habits change with every dollar you earn, it can be a good idea to consider living below — or at least within — your means.
Your 20s is the time to get out of debt. There will never be an easier time to pay off your debt than right now. This may seem counterintuitive because you make less money that you will in the future, but it’s true because you have fewer responsibilities now. Over time, your responsibilities only increase – think spouse, house, kids, etc.
If you don’t get on top of it early, the booming interest rates of today will swallow you up so far and create major setbacks to your financial future.
If you are in debt and don’t have a “get out of debt plan” start one right now, if you’re not sure get some professional help. Please, please, please don’t ignore it or kick if further down the road.
Start an emergency fund
An emergency fund is a rainy day fund, an umbrella. It is for those unexpected events in life: a job loss, an unexpected pregnancy, a car transmission going out, and so on. This is not an investment or a Bahamas fund! A fully funded emergency fund is 3 to 6 months of your personal expenses set aside in a savings or money market account.
Mayhem truly is everywhere and as an adult, you are responsible for protecting yourself from it. When horrible things happen to you—say, a trip to the emergency room or a fire in your apartment—insurance may save you from shelling out thousands of dollars all at once.
Invest for your retirement
A lot of people in their 20’s would think “why do I need to worry about retirement now it’s like 40 years away”. Just because the retirement age is 65 shouldn’t mean squat, personally I want to have a choice of when I want to retire, not when someone tells me when the retirement age is.
You have a few choices; you could make extra contributions to your super or you could look to invest in other avenues such as managed funds, stocks or property.
Protect your credit score
While you might not be planning to purchase a home or a car anytime soon, once you do, you’ll need to have good credit to take out a mortgage or a car loan. The financial moves you make when you’re 21 and dirt poor, can affect your credit score when you’re 31 and applying for a mortgage. So it’s a good idea to start tracking how the banks view your creditworthiness by requesting a free yearly credit report and checking your number every year or so.
Climb the property ladder
The average property in Australia doubles in value every 7 – 10 years so purchasing your first home when you are younger can help accelerate your future finances. It is important for those in their 20’s to learn about lending requirements for investing in their first home. This can be achieved with the right mindset and knowhow. I service and speak to people in their 20’s purchasing property even on the modest of salaries.
Stop comparing to friends
Financial success is a marathon, not a race. Don’t compete for short-term wins with your friends when you have a lifetime to prepare for. This means that if you need to buckle down and pay off your debt, then skip the travel or new car this year. Pay no attention to your friends. Your diligence, hard work, and intentional living will pay dividends in the long term.
Your 20s is a pivotal time in your life that can either make you or break you. It’s critical to start living intentionally with habits that support the life you want for yourself. A great way to get started is to start with focusing on one of these goals. Setting up a budget is the best place to start if you don’t already monitor that.