5 Financial Mistakes You Made in Your Twenties – And How to Fix Them

Written By Jeff Hindenach
Last updated November 23, 2019

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October 21, 2016

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Financial finesse often comes with age and experience. This later-in-life refinement often means you made some less-than-stellar money decisions in your younger years. The following are five financial mistakes you likely made in your twenties and the best ways to correct them.

Many people in their twenties fail to create a budget. No budget often leads to mindless spending or an inability to see where the money goes. To correct this mistake, create a simple budget with a list of all your monthly expenses. Then, track every purchase you make. After a few months, the numbers will reveal what you can either cut back on or cut out of your budget completely. Here are some tips on how to create your own budget.

According to Business Insider, less than one-third of employees under 25 contribute to a 401(k). Even if you contribute to a retirement account now, you may discover it’s just not enough. Many companies now offer some sort of retirement plan. The best advice is to take full advantage of your company’s retirement plan and contribute the maximum amount allowed.

While you don’t have control over what type of retirement plan your employer offers, you have complete control over your own personal savings. To make up for lost time you need to do more than just contribute to a basic savings account. Clark.com suggests a variety of higher-yield methods of saving, including IRAs, CD deposit accounts and high-yield savings accounts.

Buying a gorgeous set of wheels with a hefty price tag is something many younger people cannot resist. Mybanktracker states that buying a car you can’t afford is one of the biggest mistakes people in their twenties often make. People who have fallen into this trap need to pay off their car loan as quickly as possible. If you live in an area that has good public transit or bike paths, use these methods of transportation as much as possible while saving for your next car.

For some of us, simply getting an education created a massive amount of debt. One suggestion for paying off student debt includes making larger monthly payments to cut the principal. If this option is not viable, you might consider seeking employment in certain fields: Veterans, teachers and public service workers are sometimes eligible for loan forgiveness. You can also refinance your student loans with online loan sites like SoFi.

Making these money mistakes happens frequently when you’re younger. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to get back on track financially.

About the Author

Jeff Hindenach

Jeff Hindenach is the co-founder of Simple. Thrifty. Living. He graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. He has a long history of financial journalism, with a background writing for newspapers such as the San Jose Mercury News and San Francisco Examiner, as well as writing on personal finance for The Huffington Post, New York Times, Business Insider, CNBC, Newsday and The Street. He believes in giving readers the tools they need to get out of debt.

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