Financial Planning for Young Professionals
This is really hitting home for me this week. I have a soon to be Senior in College home for the summer and he is into the financial questions. I don't know if it's because he will be living off-campus this fall and is getting into "adult" mode or what. He set up a Mint.com account, a ROTH IRA and is trying to budget for utilities, rent and food. He also purchased renter's insurance. It is hard for Mom to let him grow up, but at least so far he is making the right choices.
You’re 25 and feeling alive. You’re settling into life after university, paying off your debts and slowly figuring how to “adult”. But with the responsibility of bills, rent, and even keeping up social appearances, prioritizing financial planning is something far too often pushed to the side. Of course the nagging idea that maybe starting a 401-K might not be the worst thing, however it’s hard to fully take control of your financial future when the reality of everyday life is living paycheck to paycheck.
But 25 is often touted as the true coming of age, when financial planning - re: financial responsibility - allows for the doers to turn dreams into reality.
And just like in life, financial success often lies in setting solid short term and long term goals. Short-term normally refers to 5 years ahead, and of course late 20’s early thirties is a time of life-changing moments: from a new car, to traveling the globe, to a new baby, and everything in between. Did you know that the average cost of a wedding in the USA is around $30,000? Finding your soulmate shouldn’t mean financial ruin.
So when the sudden transition to adulthood hits you like a ton of bricks, what should you do? The key lies in your greatest investment, and as cheesy as this sounds, it’s yourself. This is the perfect time for you to invest in your skills and experience to develop and maximize your earning potential. Financial ‘fitness’ is resonating with millennials more than ever. According to the Young Adults & Money Survey by Schwab MoneyWise, “two-thirds of young adults say financial fitness is more important than physical fitness, and the majority believe that financial education in school, grades K–12, is more important than both physical education and sex education combined.”
So, what else can you do to get your finances in tip top shape? Respect the power of monthly budgeting. Deciding on what’s a necessity versus what’s a ‘nice to have’ could be the difference between affording that down payment on your first property or not. Tackle debt head on. Be realistic when assessing the debt in your life and budget accordingly. The sooner you pay off debt, the more stable your future could be.
And of course, it’s never too early to start thinking about retirement. It’s the long-term financial albatros. If your company has a sponsored 401(k) or other retirement plan available, try to contribute the amount that will allow you to take full advantage of any employer match.
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