Thinking about saving money for retirement or a life insurance plan is probably not high up on most 20 year olds priority lists. With graduating from college, starting a new job, and trying to navigate a world of unfamiliar territory it can be easy to forget important tips that may not seem beneficial now but will make all the difference in the world later. For that reason we have some money tips to help everyone start out on the right foot.
Establish a budget
If you’re anything like me then budgeting is not one of your strengths. I have been known to look at my bank account in horror and figure out exactly how many more times I can order off a dollar menu before my next paycheck. Once I started working full time, however, it became necessary to budget. Using online budgeting sites, such as mint.com, as well as budget builders through my bank I was able to get in writing exactly where I wanted my money to go each month. By figuring out all your necessities (rent, insurance, and unavoidable bills) you can see where flexibility in your budget comes for wants (vacations, new clothes, and going out to eat).
Build an emergency fund
While an emergency in itself is an unexpected situation it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared. Most financial institutions suggest creating an emergency fund that would allow you to continue you current standard of living in case of injury, job loss, or other event for three to six months. That means if you are currently spending approximately $1,000/month on all your necessities that you should have an emergency fund of between $3,000 and $6,000. It is better to be prepared for the worst and not having to stress when you are already in an unwanted situation.
Enroll in your company’s retirement matching program
One of the easiest ways to get started on saving for your future is to enroll in a retirement matching program. In most situations an employee is required to contribute a certain percentage of their pay to their retirement fund. Employers then “match” that amount to a certain percentage (usually between 3% and 6%). While it may not seem like a lot initially it will build up over time and usually the longer you stay with a company the more they can contribute.
Make sure you’re insured properly
Life insurance may not seem important when considering the average life expectancy of U.S. adults, but it actually can be a lot more affordable and accessible the younger and healthier you are.