What we do now shapes our future, and that’s often most true in the world of personal finance. There, the decisions we make in our student and young professional years can impact us in ways than extend all the way to retirement.
Saving money while you’re young will give you time to enjoy the benefits of compound interest and create a more comfortable retirement. You won’t be able to save unless you’re smart about your spending decisions, though.
Here’s what you need to know about making the right personal finance decisions now, so that you can secure a brighter financial future.
Where Will You Go To School? Will You?
Higher education isn’t cheap these days and the country’s student loan crisis is showing no signs of abating. However, that doesn’t mean that a college education or even a graduate degree can’t be a great investment. In fact, smart spending on education is still statistically a path to a much more financially stable future.
The experts behind one respected RN-BSN program say that the key is simply in doing the math. Make sure that you’re pursuing a career that will make it relatively easy for you to pay off your loans. It’s important to be smart by not overpaying for a school when you could take advantage of scholarships, online programs, and other chances to save big on a great degree.
How Much Will You Spend On Your First Car?
You’ll want to save money while you’re young, but that doesn’t mean that you can avoid making big purchases. The reality of the matter is that you’ll still have to shell out for expensive essentials like housing and transportation.
Cars are how we get around in most of the United States and most places you could live will make one mandatory. That doesn’t mean that you need a sweet ride while you’re a student or a young professional, though. There are plenty of cheap vehicles out there, from relatively affordable economy cars all the way to salvage cars.
Unless you’re a talented mechanic, a salvage car is probably a bit too far. But you can certainly use online auto auction sites to snag a great deal on a used vehicle that runs reliably. Being conservative with your first car purchase will help you keep more money to save and invest in your future.
Where Will You Live As A Student Or Young Professional — And How?
When we come of age, we start to measure ourselves against a new peer group. The adults who we spent our childhood admiring. Suddenly, we’re adults too so be careful because attempting to live like your parents or older acquaintances without their level of financial stability can be a financial trap.
It likely took decades for your them to reach the financial position that they’re in now and even friends who graduated a few years ahead of you took years to accumulate the wealth and standard of living they have now. Friends your own age should typically be spending fractionally less on rent, furnishings, and decor.
That’s why you shouldn’t measure yourself against others. Doing so can only act as a detriment to your stability, so resolve to prioritize your needs and obtain wants more slowly. Be wary of your rent expenses, too.
Young people are spending too much on rent in many cases, and taking out short-term loans to make ends meet is almost always a loss for your long-term finances. Keep your student living situation as cheap as possible and fight the urge to scale up quickly once you enter the working world.
How Will You Keep Small Decisions In Line?
The big-ticket purchases you make now will have a lot to do with your long-term financial picture. So will the small ones, though.
Those coffees you buy at Starbucks instead of making at home, the video games you don’t really need, and the new clothes you only wear once are wasteful purchases..
The last and perhaps most important thing that you should do to protect your financial future is to make a personal budget. Keep track of what you spend, prioritize paying down high-interest loans, and limit your discretionary spending. Do that, and you’ll earn a brighter financial future.