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Are you in your 20s, putting together the foundation of your future and wondering about how to start building financial security? Congratulations: Being young and at the beginning of your career is the very best position from which to begin financial planning. Even if you’re currently swamped by a stack of student loans or you have consumer debt from that credit card you applied for when you were a college freshman, you can still put together a sustainable plan. Here are the key actions you need to take in order to achieve financial stability by 30.
Your days of bouncing checks are over, right? It’s time to start making a budget and sticking to it. Start off by putting a buffer of several hundred dollars in your checking account, and count that baseline amount as your new zero. Distribute your income so you can pay all your bills before they’re due, and pay off loans as quickly as possible. Budgeting apps like Mint make it easy to keep track of where your money goes and help you know when to put the brakes on your spending.
Credit cards provide essential mobility in today’s digital marketplace, but they shouldn’t be used to fool yourself into thinking you have more money than you do. Avoid this trap by paying off your charges at the end of every month. If you have credit card debt from past spending, set an aggressive goal for paying it off completely and add that monthly payment to your budget.
Even if buying a house seems like a distant mirage right now, there’s no downside to beginning to save for one. Perhaps instead you want to spend a few months volunteering on another continent, and you need a cushion of living expenses to make that possible. This is the time in your life when you can dream big, so curb your impulse spending and start saving for the things you really care about.
That’s just more spending, so you might wonder why it’s in a list of steps to financial security. Donating money is a completely different kind of spending, though, and it nurtures a different view of money. Once you see yourself as having the power to contribute to your society, you will have adopted a more mature outlook on managing your resources responsibly.
Life brings surprises, and the path to financial security is rarely smooth and even. Self-control, persistence and planning will enable you to make it through the adventures of your 20sand reach 30 on solid financial ground.