Start out strong with 4 financial priorities for young adults
Focusing on these factors will make a huge difference in preparing for your future.
Navigating finances can be challenging — especially when you're dealing with conflicting scenarios such as carrying sizable student loan debt and balancing your budget on a starting salary. Work toward achieving financial success with these moves:
Knock out debt
Having debt has consequences, including limiting how much you can save for the future. Work toward eliminating debt with these strategies:
- Make it a priority to pay down high-interest debt, since it can be more costly. Contemplate making frequent payments to pay it down or even set up automatic payments from your checking account.
- Avoid the snowball effect by making more than the minimum payment on your credit card bills, when possible, to combat the interest that continues to accrue.
Stretch your dollars
Setting a budget and prioritizing spending categories frees up funds for savings. A few lifestyle changes can go a long way:
- When car shopping, consider quality used car models with warranties instead of new vehicles.
- Brown-bag lunches during the work week. Prepare dinners at home most nights, too.
- Review your cable, internet and phone plans to see if you are actually using the services you are paying for. If not, drop them. If your monthly rates seem to be creeping up, call your provider and ask them how you can get your bill lowered. If they can't help lower the bill, research other providers that may be available in your area.
- Rather than going out every weekend, host parties at home and encourage friends to do the same on a rotating basis.
Create a safety net
An emergency savings account comes to the rescue when you encounter unforeseen expenses. Aim to stash away three to six months' worth of living expenses. Start building your emergency fund today with these pointers.
Saving for retirement
Here are some ideas on how to save for retirement:
- Contribute to your employer's retirement plan or 401k plan. Make sure you understand your retirement benefits and take full advantage of its potential. Some companies might even provide a matching benefit.
- Consider a retirement savings account. Opening a retirement savings account like an IRA might help you prepare for the future or may boost your retirement fund if you already participate in your employers' sponsored retirement plan.
- Use extra money for retirement savings. Sometimes you may get an extra bonus at work, receive a monetary gift, get a bigger than expected tax refund or finish paying some debt. Consider putting that extra money to work and help build your retirement fund.