Most of us don’t learn about personal finance in school. And many of us aren’t taught significant or positive money lessons from our parents. Often we follow a similar path, doing similar things the way they did. But don’t get me wrong, it’s not their fault. Nor is it yours. That’s just the way things are done. Knowledge and habits are passed down from generation to generation. Whether they are good or bad, that’s up to you to determine.
But many break free of this cycle and they find ways to educate themselves on topics that were once alien or unknown to them. I’m not the only person who talks about money online. There are creators and financial educators who cater for everyone from teenagers to those planning for retirement in their 50s or 60s. But in this article, I’m bringing you my top 5 Money Tips For Your 20s & 30s.
I’d say that the influence of negative money habits we see from others online has never been stronger. Yet, today, information and financial education are more accessible than anytime before. Those who want to get out of debt, stay out of debt or build wealth and retire early can find and access all the knowledge they need faster and cheaper than ever.
I turned 40 last year and for those of you who don’t know, I retired just over 7 months ago. I did this by following three general principles
- Earn More
- Spend Less
- Invest as much as possible
It took me 10 years to achieve financial freedom and it was anything but easy. I’d also agree wholeheartedly that with the cost of living crisis, bills going through the roof and the pressures many of us face at home, it’ll be for someone coming behind me to achieve this goal. But it can be done!
I’ve made mistakes. I’ve made so many, I couldn’t remember them all if I tried. But I figured out the process of achieving wealth and I learned from my mistakes to ensure I never made them again.
Sometimes I took the wrong path. Others a more effective route would have helped me achieve my goals quicker. Eventually, I did what I set out to do. If I had known what I know now, it would have been a hell of a lot easier to achieve. I could have done it quicker and possibly I’d have made more money during the process.
‘Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.’Otto von Bismarck
On the contrary, if I hadn’t made those mistakes and learned from them, maybe I wouldn’t be here sitting and typing this article now. Who knows?
But everything I know and everything I type comes from continuously learning and improving my knowledge in topics such as personal finance. It also comes from the experiences I’ve had.
And that’s what this article is. It’s the experience and the collective knowledge of things I wish I knew about money when I was younger. Some of these you might already know. Others are an affirmation that you’re doing fine. But sometimes, these things just need to be said or we need to be reminded of them to keep them on top of our mind on our journey.
So let’s get stuck in!
1. Start Investing
It’s easy to say that you’ll start investing when you earn more money. But in reality, the principles of budgeting and saving can be learned on the smallest salary.
Putting some of the money into your investments each month builds the habit that you need to become wealthy. Max out your workplace pension up to the company match if that’s available.
Then go ahead and open a Stocks & Shares ISA. Put the price of a night out into your investments and keep doing this as your income grows.
One of the top tips that I taught myself, was learning to love investing the same way you enjoy buying things. This takes a huge mindset shift from what is normal today. But I promise that when you start to see your investments grow and compound interest does its thing, you’ll wish you started sooner and invested more.
2. Build an emergency fund
Saving anything at the minute may be tough, but going into debt because you are in an emergency can set you back decades. Consider this your top priority, before anything else.
And in case you are wondering:
- Yes, it’s more important than a new car!
- Yes, it’s more important than a holiday! And
- Yes, you should cut down on luxuries until you have this money saved!
Immediately set up an emergency fund of 3-6 months of your essential expenses. Put this into a savings account that you can access in an instant.
3. Earn extra income
I had a second income for most of my young adulthood. Even when I was starting my business I had a second job. And only when I was confident that the business would be better off for my increased attention, did I stop working in the evenings.
The more you earn, the greater percentage of your income you can save. So if you want a second job, a side hustle or even additional hours at work, they all add up and will help you achieve an early retirement.
If you want to be rich, spend your time creating value. Value for yourself or someone else and try to be less of a consumer.
4. Stop trying to be the Joneses
A Kardashian lifestyle takes a Kardashian budget (or a load of freebies). Rarely do the things we buy give us long-term happiness and the cost of these items can be felt for a lifetime.
Just because you can buy something on credit, doesn’t mean you can afford it. No matter how much you want it! I saw a question online posed by someone who wanted to buy a gift for their wife. They were looking for a jeweller that offered credit as they wouldn’t be able to afford the £900 they wanted to spend on their wife right now. A jeweller might offer them the terms to buy an item, but to be completely honest, this is a terrible financial decision and could cost this person considerably more than the £900 they intended to spend.
The payments for the jewellery will continue long after the joy of the item has worn off and the Instagram photos are forgotten about.
5. Don’t be hard on yourself
Let’s face it. Life is often tough and through absolutely no fault of our own, it can get even tougher. If you’re making progresses on your finances, no matter how small or insignificant it may feel, you’re doing great.
We’re looking for progress, not perfection and when you reflect on that, you see the success in continuously moving forward. Don’t forget to celebrate the wins as these are a huge motivator and can keep you focused on your goals, whatever they are.
No matter where you are on your financial journey, the best thing you can do is to continuously educate and improve your knowledge on all things related to personal finance. Of course, I’d tell you to check out my Foundered Money YouTube Channel but as long as you are building your knowledge and making informed decisions, then you’re doing great.