If you pay much attention to social media, you’ve probably noticed the trending memes about “adulting.” They can be pretty funny, but they also make young adulthood look a little scary. In reality, being a young professional is an exciting time. And adulting doesn’t have to be so hard — or scary — when you have the knowledge it takes to set yourself up for success, especially when it comes to making sound financial decisions.
Start Investing Now!
One of the most common mistakes that young professionals make is the assumption that investing takes more money and experience than they have. You don’t want to invest blindly, of course, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn enough to start making smart investments now. If you aren’t sure where to start, contact Northeast Financial Strategies for investment guidance, and check out a resource like Money Under 30 for a primer on investing basics like mutual funds, bonds, and robo-advisors.
In addition to stocks and bonds, real estate is another investment option young adults should consider. Any property you buy is technically an investment, but real estate investing as a growth strategy usually means buying a property that you either rent or fix and sell for a profit.
Like any other investment, real estate has the potential for positive outcomes along with possible drawbacks. For young people, one advantage to real estate is that it doesn’t require a great amount of capital. The rental market is also a sustainable business model with the potential for regular passive income. The possible downside is that financing your property does require a certain amount of money. What’s more, if you aren’t up for the task, handling maintenance, marketing, and everything else it takes to be successful can become a burden.
Adopt Money-Smart Habits
Saying it’s important to manage money wisely may seem like a no-brainer, but actually doing this takes effort. To begin, make sure you’re familiar with money management basics like setting a budget. You may even want to use a budgeting app. Once you have the basics down, focus on adopting other money-smart habits that will protect your finances now and for the future.
One of the best long-term habits to adopt is to live frugally. Doing this doesn’t mean leading a life of denial; instead, it’s all about learning to make informed decisions about purchases. Try some of our favorite money-saving tips from Young Adult Money, including shopping habits like choosing generic brands and using coupons. It may not seem like saving a dollar here and there is such a big deal, but small savings add up, especially when you start early.
The natural result of spending less is that you have more money left over to save. In addition to investing, young adults should also set savings goals. These should always include creating an emergency fund and saving for retirement, but you may also have other specific goals like saving to start a family or buy a house.
Build Credit Wisely
Another top financial goal for young adults should be to build your credit history. This is important because having a good credit score can make a difference in other financial decisions like getting a car or home loan. To make sure you do this without incurring debt, brush up on credit card best practices, which include finding a card that’s low-interest and low-fee and always paying off your balance. It’s also important to know what kind of things damage your credit. One key example is how your credit score takes a hit anytime you pay bills late, which is why CNBC money experts recommend setting up automatic bill pay.
“Adulting” may be a recent concept, but learning smart money management is something every generation of young adults has to do (or at least, should do). The great thing for today’s generation is that technology has made this easier than ever, with tools like automatic bill pay and budgeting apps. With a concerted effort, commitment to using these tools, and guidance from Northeast Financial Strategies, getting started on solid financial footing doesn’t have to be hard or scary!
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