For the most part, being in your twenties is pretty cool. You’ve escaped the awkwardness of your teenage years, earned some new-found freedoms, and now have your whole life ahead of you to shape and mold into what you want it to be.
It’s a decade of growth and discovery – one where you will learn to navigate relationships, careers, and dreams. This time of change can be exciting, but at the same time, it can also be a bit stressful.
Out of all the things that stress out millennials, finances typically tops the list. Here are some of the biggest money fears that 20 somethings face and how they can overcome them.
1. Where and How to Get Started
Personal finance isn’t something that many people learn about in the classroom. Though you can take money management classes, it generally isn’t offered in school as a prerequisite to graduation. As a result, many millennials aren’t sure what to do when they get into the real world. My Advice: Start with step 1 of creating a financial plan by defining your goals. Is there something specific that you want to achieve (i.e. pay off your car in 6 months)? Where do you want to be in X number of years? By setting clear goals, you can figure out how much money you need to save and what you need to do in order to get there.
2. Dealing With Student Loan Debt
Higher education is often correlated with better jobs and higher salaries. Going to college is a personal investment for the future, so even though it’s expensive, many people feel the costs are justifiable. However, even with a degree in hand, it can be daunting to tackle student loans, especially in today’s competitive job market. You’ll need to take note of how much you owe, select a repayment option that works for your financial situation, and be diligent about taking care of your student loan debt.
3. Not Making “Enough Money”
“Enough money” is a relative term. What may be sufficient for one person may not meet the needs of another. Regardless of location or life stage, one worry that many 20 something year-olds have is not being able to make enough money to be independent and achieve the things they want in life. For example, many people want to be able to purchase a home by a certain age. This can be a great goal to work towards – to own a home that you can afford. However, don’t jeopardize your financial situation to buy/keep a house that is out of your budget. It just isn’t worth it!
4. Not Being Able to Retire
Life expectancy is higher these days, and when you do the calculations, you may be shocked to see how much you’d need to save in order to retire. It’s daunting to feel that you’d need to work well into your golden years before that can happen, but it really doesn’t have to be that way. Even though retirement may seem far away for people in their twenties, they have an advantage: time is on their side. Though it may feel like putting money into retirement savings is cutting into current cash flow, you need to remember that your future financial security is largely dependent on what you do now. It’s never too early (or too late) to start saving for retirement.
Dealing with money issues can be stressful, but with a good plan in place, you’ll set yourself up for financial success. No matter what age you are, it’s time to take control of your finances, practice smart money management, and wave goodbye to your money fears once and for all.