Most people use their 20s to figure out what it means to be an adult, and the process is certainly not easy for everyone.
Whether you're in school, just starting out on your own, or preparing to transition into your 30s, you can benefit from the wisdom of those who've already made their way through all of it. When it comes to money, we’ve all make mistakes…especially in our youth.
The fact that many students today are forced to finance their higher education means many twenty-somethings are already starting out with a load of debt.
The thing to remember is that time is on your side. This means you’re young enough to recover from even the most spectacular financial failures. On the flip side, making good, informed choices now can have a huge impact on your lifestyle in the decades ahead.
Be smart and avoid these six common mistakes:
- Not confronting the problem head-on. Life can be frustrating when you’re young, because you make the least amount of money and need the most number of things. Keep these three principles in mind as you embrace the challenge ahead:
- Protect your cash flow. Don’t run up new debt, which includes zero-interest loans on home furnishings.
- Understand the balancing act. It may be tight, but make sure you’re saving for short-term goals such as an emergency fund, long-term needs such as retirement, as well as maintaining adequate insurance protection.
- Plan ahead! Everyone can benefit from financial advice, especially when you have dreams of owning a home or going back to school. Speak with a financial advisor about your future to help you figure out what you need to do to afford your dreams. Don’t forget to check-in when life happens and major changes occur, as your financial priorities will most likely shift as well.
- Not having disability insurance. Suffering a disability that keeps you out of work is far more likely than premature death, and it can be financially catastrophic. This type of insurance pays you a portion of your paycheck if you are sick or injured and unable to work.
- Not having enough life insurance. When it comes to group life insurance, most people need more than what they can get through work, and they often qualify for better rates on their own. In fact, individual coverage costs far less than most people imagine, and it stays with you regardless of a job change. Even if you don’t own a home or have dependents yet, consider anyone who would be financially impacted by your death—especially any co-signer on a loan, who would become responsible for paying it off. Second, consider that life insurance will probably never be cheaper for you than it is today, and that insurability is never a given. Lock in protection now, and your future self may thank you someday.
- Not building credit. Many twenty-somethings want to get a credit card or buy a home, and realize it won’t be as easy because they don’t have an established credit history. In the eyes of lenders, that’s as bad (or worse) than having a terrible credit history! Many have made a conscious effort to avoid credit cards and debt. That’s good, but it comes at a cost. For better or worse, a good credit record matters. Not only when you go to buy a home, but for things like car insurance, renting an apartment, and sometimes even getting a job.
- Not saving for retirement. Beginning to save for retirement in your 20s is one of the best financial decisions you can make. You can benefit from decades of compounded growth, and capture employer contributions. Which leads us into the next common mistake…
- Not taking advantage of your employer benefits. If your employer matches 401(k) contributions, don’t ever leave their money on the table. Contribute up to at least the matching limit.
If you’re looking for insurance and financial advice, we’re here to help. Contact us today to start planning for your future and protecting what matters most.