resources

Tips for 20-somethings and 30-somethings

Do’s

  • Build your income; choose a career path that will yield higher income potential in future years.
  • Find professional mentors. Seek career guidance and career-enhancing advice.
  • Secure employee benefits: health, dental, & eye insurance, pension and 401k plans (ideally with a company matching contribution).
  • Save at least 10% of your income. Increase your savings every time you get a raise or bonus.
  • Build an emergency fund (3 months of salary, at minimum).
  • Create a monthly income and expense budget and monitor your expenses each and every month.
  • If you are in a relationship, consider planning your finances together and then work together to implement that plan. Figure out who is responsible for what and make each other accountable every month!
  • If you inherit money, life insurance, or an IRA – invest it. Do not squander these assets.
  • Build equity in real estate, an appreciating asset (starting with your primary residence). If you mortgage the property, consider paying it off early.
  • Hire a smart, experienced Financial Advisor. And, hire the Advisor who values clients that do not yet have significant funds to invest. He/she understands that you will be a very valuable client in the future.
  • Have your Advisor explain the miracle of compounding interest…it potentially will change your life.
  • Become knowledgeable on investment options. Stocks, bonds, money market funds, & mutual funds are a good start.
  • With the help of your Advisor, research a successful company and consider buying your first stock (preferably one that pays dividends).
  • Consider Life Insurance, an inexpensive option the younger you are.
  • Find out your credit rating. Every year.
  • If you have children, or are planning to, begin saving for college costs right now…the expense is rising far faster than the rate of inflation.
  • Teach your children about money…the educational institutions just aren’t doing the job.
  • Have a higher purpose than just accumulating wealth. Wealth can allow you to achieve the more important things in life. Only you decide what those things are.

Don’ts

  • Do not buy a car you really can’t afford. Choose reliable, safe transportation that has a low annual cost. Remember, cars, boats, and other toys are depreciating assets that just need to be replaced at higher cost each time you enter the replacement cycle.
  • Do not accumulate credit card debt. If you have, take it very seriously. Credit card debt is an investment plan killer. Pay it off as soon as possible, preferably every month.
  • Do not speculate in real estate without professional advice.
  • Do not borrow against the value in your home to invest in the stock market, or any other risky asset.
  • Do not use margin (borrowing against your investment assets) to purchase more investments. A decline in the value of securities that you purchased on margin may require you to provide additional funds to avoid the forced sale of those securities or other assets in your account to make up for the decline in value. There is the potential for you to lose more than you deposit in a margin account.
  • Day trading in your investment account is generally not recommended. Very, very few investors are successful using this strategy.
  • Biggest don’t: Do not procrastinate! Save now. Every day that you delay may result in a lesser outcome down the line. Start today, with any amount you can afford, and stick to it.