Money in Your 20’s
Starting Sooner than Later
Your in your mid to late twenties and just settling into your first post
graduation job. Now what? You can either plan for the comfort of your
future or splurge that paycheck on new toys. Even though you may be more
grown up there is still plenty of advice you should be listening to in
order to make wise decisions.
Your first step should be to set up a plan of action, which includes your personal and professional goals. Start with short-term goals and work your way up to the long-term goals. Depending on your situation you may have to adjust accordingly. It is important that you include others that are close to you in your goals. If you are married or have already started your family, your choices will be affecting more than yourself.
Analyze the debt that you have accumulated so far. How much do you owe on school loans, credit card payments, and any other looming debts. Take each one and figure out how you are going to handle them and when you are going to have them paid off.
If you have student loans than you will want to find a good consolidation loan. Check with the Student Loan Finance Corporation for a good consolidation loan. Don’t go to your bank and ask for a consolidation loan because their rates are generally not as good for student loans as the SLFC is.
This will give you one payment to make each month for your student loans. If you are not yet employed or are struggling to find a good paying job you may want to talk with the loan office and look into a short deferment until you can safely afford to make payments.
Start building your savings account. When making a budget set aside a certain amount that you commit to your savings each pay period. By building a safety net you are insuring yourself in case you have unforeseen problems that would otherwise make you use credit cards or have delinquent bills. A savings account is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. This is why it is usually mentioned in at least one of our articles each month.
Try and stay away from running up any more debt with credit cards. It is possible to live without them. By setting up a solid budget you can allow yourself spending money for things like entertainment and new clothes. If your budget is tight then you might have to hold up on buying a new TV or those new DVDs until your budget can accommodate them. You can either put that new CD on your credit card this week or be that much closer to buying that fishing boat later on in life and spend your golden days on the lake.
It is important that you start planning for your retirement now, because every year that you put it off is money that you are losing. If you are currently employed it might be a good idea to look into investing into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). This is a good way for you to have money for your retirement. In the June 2006 issue of the Pioneer Pilot we go into greater detail on the kinds of IRA's and what you need to do to start one.
Another way to start saving for retirement is to explore your employer’s 401k plan. This is nice because you can have it deducted from your paycheck and some companies will also match your contributions so it's like getting free money. For more details on 401k plans refer to the December 2005 issue of the Pioneer Pilot.
How important is a new car or buying a house to you? It's not uncommon to get excited about your first job with a decent salary and wanting to buy yourself some things. A new car can cost between $200-$700 and higher per month. If you have a car that runs why not use that money to pay down your debt or stash in your savings. Even if you need a car that runs, look at buying a used vehicle.
If one of your goals is to be a homeowner than you should plan accordingly. Maybe you could start off in an affordable rental and save money to make a down payment. If you are single you can always look for a place with roommates and share the cost and save yourself some money.
Of course, everyone's situation is going to be different. It is important to prioritize what is most important to you and structure your lifestyle in order to meet those goals. By starting out on the right foot you will be making your life more comfortable forty years down the road.
Pioneer Credit Counseling is a bonded, non-profit credit counseling agency offering debt management programs, financial counseling, bankruptcy counseling and housing counseling nationwide. Call our friendly counselors today at 800-888-1596 or visit www.pioneercredit.com.
Our accredited credit counselors will help you take control of your financial life and get out of debt faster than you can on your own. We offer a debt management program that will stop the collections calls, lower your monthly payment and provide you peace of mind. Our pre and post bankruptcy counselors provide an easy process for you so you can focus on rebuilding your financial being.
It is our policy at Pioneer Credit Counseling not only to help people get out of debt, but also educate in sound budgeting practices.
Pioneer Credit Counseling can help you get out of debt faster. Find out how through one of our Debt Management | Debt Management Programs | Credit Counseling | Financial Counseling | Housing Counseling | Bankruptcy Counseling | Financial Educational Materials
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