What does it mean to be financially stable? For most of us, it means that we have enough money to provide for our families, pay our bills, enjoy activities, and not worry about our cards being declined at the supermarket. But, how do we get to that point? By looking out for the future today. Here are some tips on how to make the most of your young adult years so that you can enjoy firm footing as you transition through life and all of its stages.
Spend to save.
Although it might sound counterproductive, there are some areas where it makes sense to spend more now. The Frugal Grandmom has touched on this before, noting that certain splurges, like good windshield wipers, a comfortable mattress, and a quality cellular phone are all smart spends.
Consider money-making opportunities.
Even if you’ve already gone to college and begun your career, it’s never too early to look for profitable income streams that can help you build your wealth. One example is real estate. There are very few barriers to entry, and profits are almost certain in many areas. However, buying investment properties means you will have to spend on upkeep, advertising, and, potentially, legal action against problem tenants. In some cases, it makes sense to purchase an investment home before you do your primary residence.
Buy whole life insurance as young as possible.
Whole life insurance is a financial product that protects your family in case of your sudden death. It also builds value, which you can borrow against later if need be. Money explains that buying life insurance early helps you get the best rates, and these often do not change as you age. When does it not make sense to have life insurance? If you have no dependents and enough assets for your surviving relatives to settle your final debts.
Save on your biggest expenses.
If you have already started your family, you may have found that some of your bills have gone up exponentially. One of these is groceries. Food is the third most prominent expenditure for families in the United States, just behind transportation and housing. Even a moderate-cost eating plan can run you $12,000 per year or more. You can shave money off of your monthly grocery bill and continue to eat nutritious meals at each sitting by planning ahead. Similarly, consider buying a used vehicle instead of a brand-new one. A good compromise is a certified car, truck, or SUV from your manufacturer of choice. These can be thousands less than an identical brand-new model and will likely come with a warranty similar to what you’d find just off of the showroom floor.
Choose the right savings vehicles.
When you’re in your late teens, 20s, and early 30s, you have the benefit of time. Even if you can only set aside a small portion of your income, start saving as early as possible, and choose the right investment vehicles. These are typically stocks, bonds, mutual funds, CDs, and real estate. You can also put some cash into an interest-bearing savings account. Look for a local bank (or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, an online-only financial institution) that offers a fixed rate with favorable terms. If possible, direct deposit 20% of your pay into your savings or investment, using 50% of your incoming funds toward necessities and 30% toward entertainment, vacations, and other discretionary purchases. Don’t forget to save for the kids’ college once you have a comfortable nest egg for your own retirement.
Every financial move that you make now affects your family in the future. A few smart choices early can mean the difference between a seamless retirement and a struggle throughout your working years. A good rule of thumb: start saving early. The sooner you make good financial decisions, the better off you will be in the long term.