Some of the most stressful times in a young adult’s life can be when they get their first real job and have to manage all of the adult responsibilities that come with making money. Up until that point, most people rely on parents or guardians to help them out with their finances, but there does come a time when it’s all up to you to figure it out. To make sure that you get started on the right foot, we have laid out a few habits that are great to learn when you are young so that your financial future will be bright.
Know Where It’s Going
One of the first habits anyone should learn about managing money is to know exactly where your money goes. If you can master the art of keeping track of all of your finances and making a budget that fits your lifestyle, all of the other money habits will come easy to you.
To get started, just make a simple list of your incoming and outgoing expenses. Start to think of how much you need to spend, save and give, and make notes each month on what worked and what didn’t. Keep track of every transaction you make, whether it be by hand, using Excel or even a tracking app like Mint or You Need A Budget (YNAB). Pretty soon, budgeting and tracking will become second nature to you.
Save for Emergencies
Another great habit to learn while you are young is to start an emergency fund and regularly contribute to it. Open up a savings account that you vow to only touch in case of a true emergency. Every month when you make your budget, add a line item for your emergency savings. If you automatically put it into your budget, you will build a habit of contributing something to it regularly. Most experts recommend at least having 3-6 months of expenses in your emergency fund to be on the safe side. If you put in a little each month, it won’t be long until you reach that goal.
Think About Retirement
You are young, and retirement is a long way off, but it’s still a good idea to start contributing to it now. Just think, the earlier you start, the more money you will have when you hit retirement age. There are many ways to contribute to a retirement account. Most of the time your employer probably offers some kind of 401K or pension plan. If they don’t, you can open one up yourself and contribute to it regularly. Just get with a local financial advisor and they can get you started. When you learn to contribute to retirement early, you are setting yourself up for a more stable financial future.
One of the best ways to ensure you do well with your money is to learn self-control. Try to control the part of you that wants immediate gratification everytime you see something you want. If you can learn to control your spending and say no to yourself every once in a while, you will be miles ahead of many people twice your age. People with good self-control are more likely to stay out of debt and have fully-stocked emergency funds. Having self-control will put you on the right path to personal financial success.
No matter what your age, these four habits can help get you on the right path with your money.