You’re finally in your 20s, and you have a great paying adult job.
This is usually the point where most men start to live it up by blowing through their money, but not you. No, you’re smarter than that.
You know that you’ve got financial goals you want to hit, and you’re determined to be smarter than the guys around you buying tables in clubs and living beyond their means.
If you’re ready to start adulting like a bad a**, then make sure you’re aiming to hit these financial milestones before your 30th birthday.
1. Budget like a boss
As an adult, it’s important to know exactly where your money is going.
But figuring that out is a little more complicated than just giving your online account a quick glance once a month to check your balance. You need to know how much you’re spending on entertainment, food, alcohol, and bills.
Don’t know how to create the right budget for you?
No problem. Some of these apps offer budget suggestions based on your cash flow.
Take advantage of all of the amazing technology that allows you to organize your finances, and learn how to budget like a boss.
2. Find a side hustle to pay off debt
According to Experian, millennials have an average of $23,332 of debt.
Whether that comes from student loans, car payments, or that first credit card you got your hands on at 18 years old, it’s time to pay that debt off.
Jordan Arnold, a millennial who paid off $23,375 in debt in under a year, believes that it all comes down to a game plan and hustle.
Jordan was interviewed by MONEY and shared that he chose pizza delivery as his side hustle to pay off his debt.
During the day he went to his job at an insurance agency, but as soon as 5:00 came around, he’d change into his pizza delivery uniform and deliver pizzas until 10:00p.m.
It was that side hustle that allowed Jordan to pay off his debt at 23 years old. Talk about a guy with a game plan.
It doesn’t matter what you choose to do (pizza delivery, freelancing, babysitting), just do something to start bringing in extra money.
If you’re unsure of what to do, check out this awesome list of smart ways to make money on the side in 2016.
3. Create credit so good your banker will be envious
So many people overlook such an important detail in their financial lives, but anything you want to do in the future (buy a house, car, etc.) is going to be determined by your credit score.
Before anything, learn your credit score, which is easy with free websites like Free Credit Report. Go through the report carefully, though, because Time has found that 1 in 4 credit reports actually contain a mistake, which can seriously screw up your financial wellbeing. (If you do find a mistake, learn how to dispute it here.)
It sounds too easy, but the best way to ensure higher credit is to be vigilant about bill payments.
Another way to increase your score is to make sure you have the right spending to limit ratio of your cards.
Just because you have $1,000 in credit doesn’t mean you should use it every month. Experts believe the correct ratio is to only use 10%-30% of your credit limit.
4. Figure out your Net Worth
This is probably one of the most important formulas you’ll need as an adult, so memorize it:
assets – liabilities = net worth
You can even use this nifty online calculator by Bankrate to figure it out.
So, what should be included in your assets?
- The total amount of your checking and savings
- The amount of your retirement savings
- Any valuable items in your home
- The market value of your home if you own one
- The value of your care if you own one
- Your life insurance if you have it
And your liabilities?
- Auto loans
- Credit cards
- Personal bank loans
- Student loans
It’s advised that you check your net worth once a year.
5. Create an “Oh Sh*t” Emergency Fund
Most guys don’t see the need to have an emergency fund, but if you run into any of the following emergencies, you might just be sol:
- Car accident
- Sudden health emergency
- A leak in your home
- Job loss
If you ever find yourself in any of these unexpected emergencies, you’ll be glad you have that emergency fund because running your credit line dry is definitely frowned upon when you’re trying to gain financial security.
The general guideline for the amount you need in your emergency savings is 3 – 6 months worth of your total amount of monthly bills and necessary payments.
6. Create long-term financial goals
Hoping to make a big purchase later on in life like a house, a wedding, or a car?
Write those down, and start working towards those goals in mind that now. The bigger deposit you can make on big purchases, the better.
7. Learn to discuss money comfortably in your relationship
Money ranked at the top of most uncomfortable topics to discuss in a relationship according to a Northwestern Mutual Study.
We get it. Money talk sucks, but that doesn’t mean that if you’re in a serious relationship that you should avoid it.
It’s important to get on the same page with your significant other (especially if wedding belles are in the future) as far as finances go.
If you’re unsure of what strategy to take to bring up the awkward conversation, try out these strategies named by MONEY.
1. Which goal do you believe is most important to meet?
2. How did you feel hitting your first financial goal in your 20s?