If you are looking for smart money moves to start young, you are in the right place.
Our financial decisions at a young age can have long-term effects on our lives.
The younger you start making smart money moves, the easier it is to bounce back from setbacks, the faster you accumulate wealth, and the quicker you achieve your dreams.
Slowly saving and investing at a young age can make it easier to achieve dreams such as buying a dream home, retiring early, or paying outright for a car.
Another great advantage of making wise money choices is the ability to start investing earlier.
Investments can include a retirement account, bonds, or stocks.
Starting to dabble in investments at an early age allows room for error, investment loss, or potential massive gains through compound interest.
Another advantage of starting to focus on finance at an early age is the ability to pay off debt.
If focusing on paying off debt at a younger age will give you more time to pay off big debts such as Student Loans, Car Loans, and Mortgages.
Being debt free will help relieve financial stress and help build investment portfolios.
These are just a few of the many benefits of making smart money moves at a young age. Below is a full list of Smart Money Moves to Start Young.
Build a Savings Account
One of the first things to start doing at a young age is saving.
A good goal is to set aside at least six months of expenses.
The amount needed for expenses may increase as you age due to upgrading your home or car.
Keeping six months’ income is great for covering costs such as a mortgage, a new car, or student loan debt in case of a job loss.
As monthly expenditures increase, ensure you have maintained at least six months of savings to cover your bills.
Therefore, evaluating your savings account and expenses yearly is essential to ensure the account holds six months’ expenses.
Having six months of expenses is essential as unexpected life events happen, and preparing is best.
Life events can include unexpected hospital bills, being dismissed from a job, or big car repair bills.
Having money in the bank will ease any distressful financial situations that may occur when it happens.
Furthermore, you can avoid putting costly expenses on credit cards that accumulate interest, causing you to pay more in the long run.
You are not alone if you currently find yourself without any money saved. In fact, according to SpendMeNot, “69% of adult Americans have less than $1,000 in a savings account”.
There is always time to start saving. However, the younger you start, the better off you will be over time.
Invest in Your Future
It is never too early to start thinking about your future. It is for this reason that Investing in Your Future made it on our list of Smart Money Moves to Start Young.
It is a great idea to start putting money aside for retirement as soon as possible. The younger, the better.
One significant benefit of investing is compound interest.
Compound interest is interest earned on the principal balance and the interest already accumulated over time.
Therefore, starting to add towards retirement at a younger age allows you to put less aside each month to obtain the amount of money needed to retire than if you were to start later in life.
For example, let’s say you started investing for retirement at 40.
Your initial investment was $20,000, adding $500 to your monthly pension.
Your return on investment averaged 5% yearly.
By the time you retire at 65 (25 years of investing), you will have a total of $354,089.69.
On the flip side, let’s say you started saving for retirement at 20.
The initial investment was $500.00 and only added $350.00 per month over 45 years.
By the time you retire (with an average 5% yearly return on investment), you will have approximately $675,233.16.
If you want to see examples of how much to put away with estimates on return rates, please check out the Compound Interest Calculator on investor.gov.
It is a great resource to help understand how much is needed to save each month for retirement.
Pay Off Debt
Paying off debt is a great way to get financially ahead.
There are several different ways to pay off debt.
However, the first step is creating a budget to determine how much money is left over each month to pay down debt.
The second step is determining which method is best for paying off debt.
- Paying off Highest Interest Loans First: With this method, the ability to take the loans with the highest interest and put all additional funds at the end of each month towards paying off this debt.
- Paying off the Highest Loan First: Paying off the highest loan (usually a mortgage) first focuses on the most significant debt. Paying off the largest debt first benefits those whose debt is causing considerable stress and worry. This may be a fear of losing the house due to the inability to afford the mortgage. Therefore, paying off the highest loan can offer relief from stress.
- Paying off Smallest Loan First: Another debt method that is one of the most popular techniques to pay off debt is the snowball method. The snowball method is when you pay off the smallest loan first, then pay the next smallest debt—continuing this process until all debt is paid off.
- Paying Equal Amount on All Loans: This method is when you take additional cash left over at the end of the month and distribute it to all the loans equally.
Paying off debt allows extra money to go towards retirement, investments, or enjoying life by going on vacation. [Read also: Get Out of Debt | How to Pay Off Loans Fast]
Avoid Unnecessary Debt
One of the biggest mistakes most make is getting ourselves into unnecessary debt.
Unnecessary debt causes us to make payments on purchased items we may no longer use, care about, or even need.
Consequently, interest added to the items purchased causes us to pay more than it is worth at store value.
Unnecessary debt can include having credit cards to buy items that are wanted and not needed, such as video games, fishing equipment, clothing, or shoes.
These are just a few examples of ways we use credit cards to purchase unnecessary items.
Another way to accrue unnecessary debt is to borrow more in student loans than needed. Sometimes student loans are used for other things outside of schooling.
Student Loans may be used for buying friends drinks at the bar, buying unneeded clothes, or even putting a downpayment on a brand-new car. [Read also: Things I Wish I Knew Before Buying My First Car].
Prior to making unnecessary purchases, think about how much debt you already have and the amount of time to pay it off.
Evaluate if you are wanting to pay off the item in a month, year, or even 5 years. Ask yourself if it is really worth it.
Learn How to Budget
A budget gives you a great idea of where you spend every dollar, especially when done correctly.
Budgeting lists all fixed and variable expenses.
Fixed expenses are the bills due around the same amount each month on a specific due date. Fixed expenses include car payments, mortgages, and phone bills.
Variable spending is expenses that change from month to month. Variable spending includes groceries, entertainment, and clothing.
Variable spending is often harder to budget since it can vary depending on each month’s spending habits.
Budgeting is vital as it allows an overview of all spending.
After the completion of every month, it is crucial to overview how much was spent and determine any adjustments needed to the budget sheet.
Budgeting also allows insight into oblivious spending habits. For example, show how much is spent on entertainment versus how much you thought.
Ask Yourself Do I Need This or Want This
Ask yourself the honest question, am I an impulse buyer? Impulse buying is purchasing items based solely on emotion.
If you make purchases because it makes you feel good at the moment, you may be an impulse buyer.
If you find yourself being an impulse buyer, it may help to ask if desired items are a need or want.
Categorize every item into two different groups of need or desire. If an item is not needed, then do not purchase it.
A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself before every purchase do I need this, or do I want this?
If you want to purchase those unnecessary ‘must-have’ items, leave the store and wait for a day or two.
If there is still a strong emotional desire to have that item after a few days, go back and buy it.
If you are an online shopaholic, then add the items to the cart and see if you remember after a week. If so, go back and purchase.
However, with impulse buying, the need to purchase that ‘must-have’ item at the time in the store usually fades or is completely forgotten within the days to come.
Waiting a few days before purchasing usually helps decrease the chances of buying based on emotion at that very moment.
Buying only necessary items will help save money over time that you can use to pay down debt and invest for retirement. [Read also: Benefits of Being Frugal]
It can also keep you from getting cluttered with unwanted items—a win-win.
Build a Good Credit Score
Another smart money move to start young is building a good credit score.
A good credit score is important to getting lower interest rates (which will help you save big over time) and getting the loans you desire.
Nothing is worse than deciding you want to buy a house and realizing your past financial mistakes that caused a poor credit score is hindering you from moving forward.
Derogatory marks can stay on your credit score for seven years. That is a long time to wait for those late payments or collections to fall off.
Although getting a loan on a car or home with bad credit is possible, the higher interest will cost significantly throughout the loan.
Bad credit often equals higher interest rates.
Higher interest rates cause higher monthly payments.
High interest means more money going towards obtaining a loan than actually paying the principal of the balance.
Therefore, good credit is essential for getting a loan and receiving the best interest rates.
Put Aside Money in a Retirement and Investing
Another smart money move to start young that made our list is to start putting money aside in a retirement account or towards investing.
Setting aside money for retirement and investment allows you to grow the money that you’re currently earning through compound interest.
The younger you start investing, the more money you can make through compound interest.
It is better to start investing younger than to play catch-up when you’re older.
Adding to your retirement early allows you to take breaks from contributing when needed without adding too much stress.
However, it is wise to only take breaks from contributing as a last resort.
Furthermore, investing in younger retirement accounts allows you to contribute less monthly than starting at an older age.
Although you contribute less monthly at a younger age, you can still hit the desired retirement target.
Use the compound interest calculator to see how much money is needed to set aside monthly to hit your retirement goal.
Diversify Revenue Streams
Diversifying your revenue streams is a great way to earn money.
Creating second revenue streams is done through a side hustle, side businesses, or even making money from investments. [Read also: Different Side Hustles to Earn Money].
Making additional money on the side can pay off debt, go towards other investments, help pay for everyday bills, or even grow a third or more income streams.
It can also create security by allowing you to pay down debts in case of losing your primary job.
Therefore, diversifying your investments is worth it, especially at a young age when you have the energy to start a side hustle or a secondary business.
Furthermore, using the money earned from other revenue streams outside your main job allows more financial freedom by paying off debts, investing, and even beefing up savings.
Therefore, allowing you a step closure to being financially free.
Most young individuals live from paycheck to paycheck. Therefore diversifying your income could take you out of living paycheck-to-paycheck to having more financial stability by having money to fall back on.
Thus, focusing on having a second revenue stream is essential to help get ahead. It is for this reason that diversify revenue streams made it on our list of Smart Money Moves to Start Young.
Save for a Down Payment on a Home
Another excellent money move to make young is saving for a down payment on a home.
A home is an excellent long-term investment and one that usually appreciates over time. Having a home you own helps you build equity.
Owing is better than renting since renting builds your landlord’s equity.
It is a good idea to save 20% down for a home payment to avoid paying a PMI.
In conclusion, the financial decisions we make at a young age can have a significant impact on our lives.
Starting to save and invest at a young age can help us achieve our dreams faster, accumulate wealth, and bounce back from setbacks.
Therefore, making it important to start making smart money moves at a young age.
Remember, it is never too early to make wise financial decisions for a better future.
Full List of Smart Money Moves to Start Young
- Build a Savings Account
- Invest in Your Future
- Pay Off Debt
- Avoid Unnecessary Debts
- Learn How to Budget
- Get in the Habit of Saving and Investing
- Build a Good Credit Score
- Put Aside Money in a Retirement Account
- Diversify Revenue Streams
- Save for a Down Payment on a Home
Making wise financial choices today will pay off in the future.
However, it may take time and seem like hard work at first, but the rewards, in the end, are well worth it.
We hope this helps you with making smart money moves for your future.
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Sara is a writer for Amora V Lifestyle and is Co-Owner of Elizabeth Besich. Sara previously worked as a Marketing Manager and has her Master’s from Lindenwood University.
Sara studies everything of interest, from psychology, recipes, finances, mental health, and travel, thriving to find happiness and to live a good life.
When not learning, Sara loves all things outdoors, food, and hanging around great company. Furthermore, Sara loves spending time with family, who she is blessed to have in her life.
Note from the author: Through my articles, I hope to bring you joy and peace and that you enjoy it!