As young professionals, we are often occupied by working 40-50 hours per week and maintaining an active social life that we often forget our finances can be the single thing that dictates how we live.
In your early twenties you can make the biggest impact on your post career financial season than ever before.
Here are three things to help you along the way:
Contribute to 401k – Most companies offer retirement saving plans, also known as 401k’s for there employees to set aside tax free money for retirement. Companies have begun to match employee contributions to encourage savings and post career planning. I know that at 25, the last thing you want to think about is retirement but with the fragility of social security and rising medical cost, it’s not too early to start thinking about it. Also look into a Roth IRA.
Get a handle on your loans – At 25 it has been at least four years or so after college and many young professional are still paying Sallie Mae, mortgages or car loans. Your twenties are the best time to focus on loan management. Developing a plan to pay off loans and sticking to it will increase your credit score, reduce financial strain during unexpected events, eliminates the need to file for bankruptcy and prevents the passing of debt to your children.
Create an entertainment fund - You may say how can I have an entertainment fund with loans and contributing to a retirement plan? Easy, set a weekly amount usually $50 – $75, and use that for all your entertainment expenses. That includes food, movies, nightlife and spirits. You never want to be so consumed with loans and savings that your forget to enjoy life. The good thing is, any money you don’t use can be rolled over into the next week.
This is a very conservative approach but effective if used faithfully. There are plenty tips we could all use, but it’s always good to start somewhere.