Did you recently graduate from college?
If so, you definitely have a lot to celebrate.
At the same time, you might be a bit worried, too.
After all, this is a critical time in your life. The decisions you make over the course of this decade can have long-lasting consequences, for better or worse.
In this article, we’re going to discuss three important elements of how you can use money in your 20s to ensure the rest of your life is less complicated.
Setting Yourself Up for Success
First, let’s talk about the steps you should take immediately after graduation to make the most of the money you make in your 20s.
Landing an Initial Job Must Be a Priority
One of the most important things you can do to set yourself up for success with money in your 20s is to land a job before you even graduate from college.
Keep in mind that your first job won’t be your last. In fact, the average person has 10 different jobs before they’re 40.(Bureau of Labor Statistics).
The reason we point this out is that many college students want to land their dream job right away. While there’s nothing wrong with that, you also don’t want to hold off on pulling down an income.
Furthermore, most experts agree that it’s easier to find a job when you have a job. The sooner your resume shows more than just a college degree, the sooner you can begin making more money.
Obviously, internships and other work experience may help, but employers want to hire people who have already been in full-time work environments.
You don’t need to quit applying for jobs once you begin working, either. It’s just that it will be easier to amass money in your 20s if you get that initial job ASAP.
Keep Your Spending to a Minimum
Even after you begin earning money, you may still be handicapping yourself if you aren’t practicing good spending habits.
We know that no college graduate wants to go from living with their friends to living with their parents, but this will definitely help you save money in your 20s, even if it’s just for a year.
Sure, your parents might charge you rent, but it’s probably going to be a lot less than most apartments.
If you do have to move to another city, see if a friend will room with you. Carpool if possible. Don’t splurge on too many luxury items and hold off on expensive vacations.
You’re in your 20s. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy yourself. At the moment, though, it’s more important that you build up your savings.
How to Save Money in Your 20s
That brings us to our next topic: learning how to save money in your 20s. A lot of adults don’t get a grip on this until after they turn 30, so you’ll be much better off if you master this skill right after college.
Contribute to a 401(k)
Without a doubt, this is probably the easiest way you can save money in your 20s. Most employers offer a 401(k), which makes it easy to set aside funds from each paycheck.
Better still, many will match your contributions, some will even go as high as 100%. This is free money. Do not take this for granted. If you’re practicing healthy spending habits, there’s no reason you can’t make the most of this opportunity.
Build Your Wealth
There are a number of ways you can build wealth in your 20s.
We’ve already touched on one method: don’t quit applying for jobs. The more you’re able to make, the more you’ll be able to save. Ideally, even if you begin receiving a larger paycheck, you’ll maintain the same level of spending you had the year before.
Of course, you can increase your standard of living a bit, but do this at a moderate pace. If you spend all of your extra income on luxury items, you’ll leave yourself vulnerable in the event that you lose your job or otherwise need access to a large sum of money.
Automate the Process
We could talk all day about how to save money in your 20s, but you can also automate much of the process. As we mentioned before, you can sign up for automatic deductions that go right into your 401(k).
You can also use free apps to track your spending. These make it incredibly simple to set a budget and refine it as time goes on by reviewing where you’re spending money on unnecessary items.
Masters of self-discipline will even benefit from automating their important financial decisions. Over time, you’ll find that you’ve increased your wealth without really trying.
Investing in Your 20s
Begin investing in your 20s. This will not only help you prepare for retirement, it will help you when you want to buy a house, have children, and pay for other major milestones.
Learn About Finances
Even with those apps we mentioned, it’s important you understand how finances work. We’re not saying you need to become a CPA or learn the ropes as a day-trader, but having a basic level of financial literacy about money in your 20s will go a long way toward reaching your investment goals.
The good news is that there are free financial literacy courses online. There are also countless books on the topic.
Again, this doesn’t need to become a second job, but dedicating an hour here and there to understanding finances will pay huge dividends (no pun intended).
Work with a Financial Advisor
Finally, investing in your 20s isn’t something you should do alone. We’ve all heard stories of people who wiped out their savings by making bad investments.
Again, learn the ins and out of finances, but don’t take on something as important as investing important without help from a professional. A financial advisor will make sure you understand what your options are, help you set goals, and ensure you adapt as your needs change.
Knowing that your financial future is in the hands of trained professional will also give you great financial confidence. You’ll still have plenty of responsibilities to ensure you make and save money in your 20s, but a financial advisor will provide you with an invaluable resource.
Let Us Know if We Can Help
At Mooney and Lyons, we love helping people make the most of every penny they earn. This includes teaching our clients about how to save money in their 20s and invest it wisely.
Contact us today to learn all about how we can help you during this critical time.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.