Your early twenties can be the most exhilarating experience of your life’s journey. That’s until you have to start thinking like an adult, of course.

High school education almost never touched on personal finance, while college gave you a vague idea, but never quite scratched the surface on sound financial decision-making (choosing between ramen noodles and a bottle of wine doesn’t count).

Making financially sound decisions in your early twenties will make sure you have a sound future to look forward to. In the likely event that you’ll get older, here are some tips to help you make sure you don’t become a financial derelict.

1. “Make those that you’re dependent on for a paycheck, dependent on you.” – Suze Orman

This tip is not only gratuitous for your finances, but for your career as well. Your early twenties are where you make your mark in the working world, and starting off strong will present you with the best opportunities for where you want to go eventually. Not only that, but creating job security instantaneously guarantees your financial security. So, show up to work before your boss, read up on your industry and stay up to date, put in extra hours during weekends, and develop new skills. All your hard work is bound to pay off and make you an invaluable asset in whatever field you’re in.

2. “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.” – Will Smith

Despite what you think: no, you don’t need those shoes with the expensive price tag, and you’ll still live if you don’t eat at your favourite restaurant every day. The pressure to keep up with trends and appearances gets worse the older you get. Instead of eating out at lunch every day at work, pack your own lunch and enjoy the solitude of a meal on your own. The extra cash flow will be much cooler than a pair of new Nikes.

3. “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

In case you get really old (which we really hope you do) you need to start thinking about saving for retirement from the beginning. People nearing retirement age often express how quickly time flies, and that building a sizable nest egg becomes more difficult if you don’t start early. Also, you’ll probably acquire other expenses you may not have yet, such as a mortgage and a growing family. Once you have your first stable job, start looking into your retirement fund at work. Consult the financial advisors at your bank and find out what your options are.

4. “Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.” – Benjamin Franklin

Having a budget is an important step in keeping track of your finances. Once you see how your morning coffee from Starbucks adds up over the course of a month, you’ll realize that making small, manageable changes in your everyday expenses can have a big impact on your finances.

5. “Financial sense is knowing that certain men will promise to do certain things and fail.” – Edgar Watson Howe

Start an emergency fund – because life happens. Having money in savings to use for emergencies can really keep you out of unforeseen financial trouble and help you sleep better at night. Also, if you get into the habit of saving money and treating it as a necessary expense, pretty soon you’ll have more than just emergency money saved up: you’ll have retirement money, vacation money and even money for a down payment on a new home. Don’t just stash this money away under your mattress; put it in a high interest online savings account, otherwise inflation will erode the value of your savings. Find out what savings options are available from your bank.

About The Author

Chwayita January

Chwayita January, or ‘Ceejay’ for short, is an Honours student in Media Studies and our resident social media and copywriting assistant. Ceejay is a self-deprecating aspiring writer, with a twang that will make you question her nationality.

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