30 is the new official age of adulthood. By 30 most people have completed their education, had a serious relationship with a significant other, and had pets and/or children. However, most people haven’t had their financial situation squared out. Here are 9 money tips to ease you into financial adulthood:
- Find a legal means of income. You have to earn the money in order to save the money. But you’re saying, “Why don’t I strap on my job helmet and squeeze down into a job cannon and fire off into Jobland where jobs grow on little jobbies?” I know, Charlie Day, the job market is terrible, but a little income is better than no income.
- Invest in a 401k. If your employer offers a 401k, take it. Some companies offer a percentage match or higher. It’s free money you can use when you’re old and gray. I admit, I’ve been putting off this money move for some time now.
- Use credit cards sparingly. A credit card isn’t the same as a gift card. You need to pay it back asap.
- Keep at least 3-9 months of salary/pay in savings. If you get fired or have to leave your job abruptly (like for a serious illness), you need to know you have enough money to pay the bills. Unless your employer is doing something criminal or reprehensible, don’t just up and leave your job! Would you jump out of a plane without a parachute? Exactly.
- Use an automated savings plan. Been meaning to make a savings account? Take the plunge and consider automated savings. You tell the bank how much you want transferred out of your checking account every month, and you don’t have to constantly lie to yourself about adding more to it later.
- Check your credit report. You need to know what your score is, and if you’ve ever been a victim of identity theft. You can get one for free from Annual Credit Report, and 3 reputable companies will give it to you for a fee: 1) Experian 2) Equifax and 3) Transunion.
- Review and pay down your debts. Have student or auto loans? Credit card debt? Other bills? Do you know that the minimum balance is pretty much just a chunk of interest? Figure out a budget, factor what things you can live without (e.g. Starbucks, Netflix), and use that money to pay above the minimum balance. If you are in serious financial difficulty, I strongly recommend you speak to the company or lender and request special payment help.
- Don’t co-sign a loan. If they don’t default on the loan, the rest of it ends up on your shoulders. Also, people who have poor credit or credit scores are asked by a lender to co-sign. Friends and money don’t mix.
- Don’t live beyond your means!!! If you can’t pay for things now, don’t expect you will suddenly be able to in the future.
What money/financial advice do you wish someone had told you when you were younger?