It’s essential to establish a well-thought-out plan regarding your finances, no matter how young one is.
The first thing you need to do is to identify your short-term goals. Though your long-term goals are just as important, the fundamental approach to achieving those hinges on your ability to hit short-term goals. Failure to define your short-term goals clearly will result in your inability to secure a great future in terms of your finances.
The following are short-term financial goals you should set to have control over your finances:
- Eliminate Debt
Take a good, hard look at your financial situation as this is a vital step in achieving financial stability. Before setting out any financial plans and objectives, you ought to consider getting rid of any forms of debt. The sad truth is that you can’t invest your money effectively when you have a lot of debt piled up. Write up a plan to tackle any debt you have.
- Start an Emergency Fund
In an uncertain world, it’s important to be proactive. Instead of waiting until something really terrible happens, why not have a contingency plan in place? Starting an emergency fund doesn’t require a lot of effort and you can start small at first. Commit to putting away an amount that makes sense for your budget every month. Create a separate checking account for your emergency fund and use automatic withdrawals to fund it. Set it and forget it.
- Create a Budget
Controlling what you spend your money on can a bit of a herculean task especially if you don’t have your priorities right. At 20 years of age, now is a good time to practice setting and following a budget. If you are not sure how much money you spend monthly, use an expense tracker to assess your spending for at least 2-3 months and then you can decide what to include and exclude in your budget.
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- Generate Multiple Streams of Income
As you are advance in life, your responsibilities grow with you. More responsibilities translate into more bills, and it’s important to not be dependent on just one stream of income. A steady job is great, but if you aren’t diversified, you will be rocked if you lose your job for whatever reason. Build skills that you can grow a stream of income around.
- Invest, even a little
With the existence of apps such as Stash, Robin Hood and others, it has become easier than ever to invest in the stock market. The earlier you start, the more time your money has to compound and generate stellar returns.
You don’t need several thousand dollars to start investing, just $5 and a little bit of curiosity. Stash, for example, enables users to begin their investment career with as little as $5.
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- Keep an eye on your credit score
Your early twenties are a great time to start building a credit history. If you decide to open a credit card, make sure to use it sparingly and pay off the balance in full, every time. Building a solid history and great credit score can come in handy down the line, giving you access to great deals in the future when you need it. Future you will thank you profusely.
If you haven’t established credit yet and are having issues opening one, try setting up a joint credit card with a relative.
At 20 years of age, short-term financial goals can be as simple as exposing yourself to the concepts and ideas that you will need in the future. Practice good habits like paying off credit cards in full, and keeping a budget and it will pay off in the future. At the same, it’s important to educate yourself about investing as early as possible to take advantage of the magic of compounding.