Finances

Five Smart Money Moves for Your 20s and 30s That Will Help You Thrive

Take the right steps and educate yourself financially (early), to set your foundation for financial success.

Sweet 20s.

One of the funniest, wildest, and most adventurous trip of this lifetime, full of emotional, financial, and mental ups and downs.

But you know what? Some of us, wouldn't have it any other way. These are also the years that shape us (at least most of us), in the most affirming ways. A lot of us fail epically in many aspects of our lives during our 20s and as they progress, we can't avoid but feel an incessant anxiety telling us that we're almost three decades old.

Our finances are driving us crazy, responsibilities are piling up more and more everyday, and people's expectations of us grow by the minute.

We want to live life in our own terms, have so much money we don't have to worry about it, travel to exotic places, drive fuel-efficient cars, workout to have that beach body year-round, order UberEats because we struggle with cooking at home regularly, and let's face it, we also want to buy that dreamy house that is way out of budget because we think we can.

There's good news for you. If you take the right steps and educate yourself financially to set your foundation for financial success, there's light at the end of the tunnel.

Let's break it down:

1. Recognize your debt

People who have debt know it, but often times they don't want to deal with looking at the numbers, adding them up, and putting an action plan together to pay it all off. Their default is to start making minimum payments which in turn leads to accruing a ton of interest, and creating a snowball of debt that piles up quickly. So, the earlier you realize, accept and understand your debt, the quicker you can start focusing on building wealth. It's critical that you work on an action plan and avoid getting into more unnecessary debt. If you have no idea where to start don't be afraid to reach out for help to a financial planner or coach who can help you get in control of your finances fast. Let denial go, the sooner you deal with this, the faster you'll get on track.

2. Invest

Investing is sometimes an intimidating topic for some people. Others think that they need to have thousands or even millions of dollars in order to take their first investing step. There are many ways that you can get a head start in your investing journey. Examples of these are: your employer's 401K, enrolling in your employee stock purchase plan (ESPP), ROTH IRAs, non-retirement accounts, etc. But remember, in order to do this, you need to have your financial life organized. Reach out to a financial expert to help you narrow down which options may be best fit for you and your situation.

3. Stop living someone else's life

"Striving is good. It gives the journey meaning. But too often we strive toward goals that don’t fulfill us, goals that aren’t defined by us or are even in sync with our own inner lives." - Rick Smith, Forbes Contributor

We all have a different story. Although in this day and age we quickly become enamored by everything we see on social media and the picture perfect advertisements we catch everywhere we go, remember that we all have different realities and various paths that took us there. Looking for outward fulfillment will get you to very dark places, not only financially, but emotionally as well. Begin working with yourself to gain self-awareness of your path and where you want to go. You're not competing with anyone.

4. Set REAL goals

Sounds basic but, you need some serious goals-setting. Goals should be split into short, medium, and long-term financial goals. Short-term plans should be anything between 0-12 months; medium-term goals are anything between 1-5 years; and lastly, long-term goals, are anything that is 5+ years. To set these, it's important to look at the big picture of your desired life. Things will change along the way, and you'll need to adjust, but having your goals set will serve as a driving force to pick yourself up when times get rough.

5. If you want to build something, now's the time to do it

If you're an aspiring entrepreneur, or want to build and launch your business, your 20s and 30s are the perfect time to do it. Businesses take time to get off the ground and turn profits. If you have an idea, the earlier you start learning, networking, researching and figuring out your game plan to bring it to life, the better positioned you will be for success. But remember, that success is never guaranteed. You will fail at times, so do it fast, that way you can iterate or move on to the next phase of your journey.

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