Financial management tends not to be a life goal for anyone under the age of 25. However, it’s often before this point in life that you can have considerable influence over what your financial circumstances aged 30+ are most likely to be. With that in mind, these are the top 10 pieces of money management advice that every young person should hear as early in life as possible.
The Top 10 Tips
Saving is boring – but essential. Saving is the key to the door of financial success and the earlier you get used to putting 10% (or so) of your income into savings each month, the more you can build up. Savings will enable all the fun things in life, such as holidays and shopping, as well as the serious stuff like a mortgage and starting your own business.
Learn how to budget now. Budgeting is just the balancing of incomings and outgoings and ensuring you’re not spending more than you have. It will become a crucial skill as soon as you leave home. If you haven’t acquired it by the time you graduate then you could easily get into trouble with debt and meeting further life goals could be difficult.
It’s never too early to save for retirement. The amount of cash required for a comfortable retirement these days is up in the six to seven figures. So, it’s a huge mistake to leave saving for retirement up until the years when you can actually see it on the horizon. Start saving early and save small so that you gradually build up a retirement fund that gives you security and freedom.
Set some financial goals. More realistic than “I’d like to retire at 30” but more ambitious than “I just don’t want to get into debt,” good financial goals can help to motivate and inspire you onto better things. Financial goals could be anything, from being able to take two years off work to travel, to embarking on a freelance career, getting married, having children or buying your own home. Clear financial goals will help you to create a money roadmap.
Pay off your credit cards at the end of each month. Or, if you can’t do this, at least limit the number of cards that you have and try to keep the balances as low as possible. Credit cards can be a really useful option for paying for large purchases and many offer attractive benefits, such as accumulating air miles. However, they need to be carefully managed so that you don’t end up paying too much interest.
Be aware of your credit report. As early as possible, take a look at your credit report and begin analysing what factors affect the view a future lender might potentially take. For example, you might need to pay off debt to improve a credit score and if you’re not on the electoral roll then your score will drop right down.
Learn how to live within your means. Budgeting is the first step towards living within your means but there is more to it than that. As early as you can, start acquiring the skills that enable you to live lean when times are tight, from shopping second hand to learning how to managing food shopping and preparation so that you’re nutritiously fed without spending a fortune.
Have a rainy day fund. This is money that you set aside to cover life’s little emergencies, from a broken boiler through to paying the excess on your car insurance. Life is a lot easier if you have a financial safety net so it’s worth working to create this as early as possible in life.
Work out what you’re good at. If you do what you love then you’ll never work a day in your life – or at least that will be how it feels if you genuinely enjoy what you do. Plenty of people take jobs for the salary that comes with them and are perfectly happy. However, ultimately, you might find that you’re more financially successful if you’re doing something you’re genuinely good at and really enjoy.
Investing doesn’t have to be risky. You can put your money into all sorts of places to help it grow, from tax free ISAs through to investing in stocks and shares. Investing in stocks and shares tends to generate the highest returns but also comes with the most risk – you could lose it all. However, if you start with small investments and learn as you go, there is a lot of potential to make more money.
Amanda Gillam is Solution Loans's General Manager and has been since 2009. She is also a prolific writer on personal finance issues, and has been quoted numerous times in articles published on 3rd party websites and in press releases. Her...Read more about Amanda Gillam