Useful Personal Finance Tips for Eighteen-Year-Olds
Like everything else in life, sorting out your finances in the beginning will be extremely hard. You might be clueless as to where to start. Then you might question, does it even matter? Well, it does. If you are earning already and do not know where your money is exactly going, you are in trouble. All you need is to give it a long, hard thought, and you will realize that there are simple ways to start. You just need to change a few habits and avoid mistakes.
Know About Your Retirement Funds
Knowing how your retirement fund works is very important. The younger you learn all about it, the better. Understand the 401 K plan that companies offer, but also have a backup plan in mind. If you have already started earning, remember that in the USA, they say it is wise to have at least $1 – $1.5 million in order to retire. But the bad news is several companies do not offer 401k for their employees. In that case, you will have to have your own retirement fund, and start saving as early as you can. You can invest in stocks or mutual funds to make sure you get the best return when you finally retire years later.
Pay Back Debts
When you are 18 and ready for college, all you can think of is getting a student loan, not how you can pay it back. But if you want to build a stable base for your future, you must know how important it is to pay back debts, especially those that have high interest rates. Going forward, you might get a credit card. If you do, you should learn to use it wisely as well. Credit cards can be extremely handy at times when we need emergency cash, but the interest rates are severely high. Take up a part-time-after-school job. This will help you pay up your debts, and you might be able to clear your student loans before anyone else in your class. Taking help from your parents is always an option, but the feel-good factor when you do it all by yourself is undeniable. Of course, if you are a genius of sorts who who already has patents then, this would be a cakewalk for you!
Understand the Importance of Emergency Funds
Understanding the importance of an emergency fund is necessary, and we are not just talking about $500. An emergency fund should be built over the years and should have a considerable amount of money at all point of time. What if you lost your job suddenly? Can you rely on your emergency fund for a month? Last time we checked, $500 cannot help you survive for a month. Or take for example, if your car broke suddenly and you need to get it repaired. Even with auto insurance, wouldn’t it help if you have some extra money stacked, and you don’t have to take money out of your savings or your current salary?
Learn To Invest
Money matters are not taught at school. Unfortunately, once we are out of school, finance becomes a huge headache that we can neither handle nor avoid. If there is one thing you should know about first about money matters, it should be investing. All we learn from looking at our parents and elders is that we need to earn well and save well. That is how we can have loads of money for our retirement. But, investing money will give you a lot more than you would get from a normal savings account. There are several myths about investing. Do your research well and do it early. Because few things can beat long-term investments. Let’s say, you can spare about $100 a month — start with that; long-term investments can be highly rewarding, and you can go for them only when you are still young.
Though it is hard to begin, once you start practicing it and making it a habit, your financial base will be pretty strong by the time you are 30. When most of your friends will be losing sleep over debt payback, you can give yourself a pat on your back and be happy that you changed your way of thinking long before others did. Of course, you can thank us later, too!
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