Being in the 20s is an exciting time.
You are young, free, unstoppable, and energetic enough to reach your dreams. Numerous transitions will make your life more colorful if not challenging enough.
You graduate from college, get your first job, perhaps moved on to another job, climbed up your career ladder and meet more people (or your Significant Other). You have traveled locally and abroad believing in YOLO (You Only Live Once).
You may only have one life, but most of us are bound to get old.
Once you reach 30 and look back in your 20’s, will you feel happy about your financial decisions or be regretful with oppressive snowballing debts?
The worst thing you can do to yourself is to turn 30 with a heavy financial burden. On the other hand, the best gift to yourself is financial freedom. Here are 10 goals to get there.
- 1 Pay Off Your Student Loan
- 2 Settle Your Credit Card Debt
- 3 Establish a Positive Credit Score
- 4 Start tracking your expenses
- 5 Build an Emergency Fund That Equals 6 Months of Living Expenses
- 6 Save for a Down Payment on a Home
- 7 Invest Wisely to Generate Passive Income
- 8 Start Saving For Retirement
- 9 Get Insured
- 10 Set Long-Term Money Goals
Pay Off Your Student Loan
A long term debt can pull you away from a better future. It is difficult to make life decisions when you have a debt to pay in years to come. Add to that, the longer loan you have, the more interest it will generate.
Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, president of the Charles Schwab Foundation, shared that when it comes to student loans, students should on not borrow more than what you think will be your first year’s salary.
Settle Your Credit Card Debt
While smart credit card use can boost your credit score, a growing number of people in their 20s slip into credit card debt. In fact, Experian revealed that the average credit card debt for Millennials age 22 to 34 is $3,542.
As you get older, expenses increase and the disposable income shrinks. This gets worse with a snowballing credit card debt. Until you settle it up to the last cent, it will keep on growing.
Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to get out of credit card debt. First, negotiate for a settlement while you still can. A few months after you failed your credit card bills, you can still ask for an amicable settlement. Don’t wait for your account to be endorsed to the collection companies. They are rougher than banks.
You can also apply for a bank transfer. Transfer your other banks’ credit card balances to a new credit card and enjoy low monthly add-on rate. The new credit card will pay off your old debt. Now you can focus on one debt with a lower interest rate. Be sure to diligently pay your bills now to avoid additional penalties and higher interests.
Establish a Positive Credit Score
Your credit score will tell your banks and future lenders if you are a good borrower. In case you don’t know it yet, your creditors and banks can see your previous loans and debt history. They are also mandated by law to report your payment habit to the credit bureau.
To build a positive credit score, you need to settle your credit card bills on time. Add to that, to need other types of loans in your history such as a cash loan. Diligently pay on time and apply for loans only from a licensed cash lender. This way they can report positive loan history. Once you decide to get a car loan or a mortgage, banks will see your records and approve your application with better deals.
Start tracking your expenses
Feeling like your money is slipping between your fingers?
Before you reach 30, you should already know where your money goes. From your necessities to luxuries, you need to keep track of each one. This is your first step toward strong financial habits.
Once you see which ones are needs, you can easily prioritize them in your spending plan. Move some amount around to balance your expenses with your income. If you see that you need to add more money to your bills, then you can transfer some amount from your luxuries towards it.
Build an Emergency Fund That Equals 6 Months of Living Expenses
As you approach 30, you will know how hard it is to suddenly lose your source of income. Unforeseen things happen. Some people lose jobs due to company budget cuts. Others get sick and unable to work for a few months. Your emergency fund will help you survive until you establish another source of income.
Set up automatic transfers from your payroll account to your savings account so you can never touch your money and learn to live even without it.
Save for a Down Payment on a Home
Got a dream house? Like most people, you will need a mortgage to buy a home. Saving for a down payment will help you lower the amount you have to borrow. This means lower interest and easier debt to settle.
Invest Wisely to Generate Passive Income
Make your money work for you. Start looking for passive income that fits you best. Of course, there are a handful of options such as in stock market, mutual funds, bonds, and Unit Investment Trust Fund (UITF). Invest only the money you can afford to lose and never risk investing in things you do not really understand.
Start Saving For Retirement
Most people in 20’s are not yet prioritizing their retirement plans.
You may have a monthly pension upon retirement, but the inflation has already shrunk its value. Try and save 5% of your wage in a separate savings account. Slowly raise the amount until you reach 20%. You can also contribute to your employer’s retirement scheme. Not only will you be able to save, but you will also make your money grow.
You are old enough to know that unexpected things happen when you least expect it. You may think that insurance is just a waste of money, but you’ll be thankful that it’s there when you need it. Compare different types of insurance. Choose the one that covers your priorities with a premium that you can pay with ease.
Set Long-Term Money Goals
When I was in my early 20’s I felt lost. I wanted to do too many things and reach a lot of goals but I failed to plan on how to get there.
Think of what you may want to achieve in 10 years. You might want to get a master’s degree, travel overseas, make a major career change, buy a house or get married. Whatever goal you choose, make sure to plot actionable ways to get there. Know how much you need to save to have a clearer idea on what’s actionable enough for you.
Your 20s can teach you a lot of life lessons since you are likely to make a lot of mistakes. When you reach 30, you’ll realize that you are young enough to correct your mistakes and old enough to make the right decisions. Until then, nothing should stop you from a better financial status. After all, you are never too young to aim for financial freedom.