Trial, Error and What I Learned About Money in My 20s
BY SEAN PYLES
Your 20s are a time of self-exploration, finding your footing as an adult — and likely making some money mistakes. To save you from learning the hard way — and pass on some knowledge as I enter my 30s — here are five money lessons from my past decade.
GET SERIOUS ABOUT GOALS
For several years, my main financial goal was to go out as much as I wanted and still have enough money left at the end of the month to cover rent. Eventually, though, groggy mornings and paltry savings proved unfulfilling. My partner and I decided to set goals and plan for them. We wanted to buy a house, which meant moving to a
less expensive city so we could build savings. TIP : Know your passions to know your goals.
Sacramento, California, certified financial planner Pam Rodriguez suggests identifying what brings you joy, then crafting a financial plan to create more of those moments. “Personal finance is a lot more emotional than it is a math equation,” Rodriguez says. “Even though the numbers have to add up, you’ll never take action unless you feel strongly about something.” If you want to buy a house to host friends and family, for example, identify how much you’ll need for a down payment and closing costs, then work toward that savings goal over time.
FIGURE OUT A BUDGETING SYSTEM
For most of my 20s, my budgeting system was defined by the lack thereof. Eventually, I sucked it up and started tracking my spending. At first, I felt that I was slacking if I didn’t document where every penny went. But I quickly realized that keeping a simple budget was more my style.
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