From the moment you turn age 18, understanding the balance between spending and saving becomes a daily dilemma. Every stage of life has its financial challenges. It’s your responsibility to recognize upcoming expenses, save for them and remain in budget.
Explore the top tips to responsibly handling money at any age. There are options for every scenario.
1. During the College Years
You may or may not have a part-time job during your college years. This time period is usually filled with debt accumulation in the form of student loans. Try to take out as few loans as possible. Fill your tuition payments with scholarships and grants.
Ideally, you should focus on maintaining a solid credit score during this time period. You might pay utilities or apply for a secured credit card. Pay everything on time and in full with each billing period. An excellent credit score will pave the way toward investments in the future, such as a car or real-estate purchase.
2. Careers and Investments
After college, a lucrative career is possible. Start to pay down those student loans. Avoid major expenditures otherwise. You want to save money at this point. Put at least 20 percent of your paycheck into a savings account. Ask your employer about 401(k) contributions, pensions, and other benefits. These investments will help you save for your future children’s college expenses, retirement, and insurance needs.
Don’t worry about buying a home right now. You might move from job to job when you’re fresh out of college. Renting an apartment is perfectly acceptable as you save up for future endeavors.
3. Considering Emergency Funds
As a successful adult, you might branch out into other investments, such as adding an IRA or individual retirement account to your portfolio or buying a home. Certificates of deposit are another great savings tool. However, most of these products don’t give you instant access to your cash.
Think about setting up an emergency fund in an ordinary savings account. Put enough money into it so that there are about six months of income at your disposal. If a financial issue occurs, including a lost job, you have funds to support the household until better times.
4. Financing Unexpected Expenses
At times, an emergency fund isn’t enough to cover a major expense. Looking into short-term loan options may become the focus when facing unexpected expenses. Think about low-cost products, such as home-equity loans or lines of credit, once you own real estate. You could consider cashing out a stock or applying for a loan from a direct lender. Borrowing from your family is one option that won’t impact your credit score, which should always be a top concern.
If these options fail to bring financial ease in times of unexpected financial strain, you could also consider personal installment loans. With an approved application, you will receive a lump sum at a fixed interest rate. Because these loans can result in additional fees if not paid back on time, it’s recommended to use them only in times of unexpected emergencies, and only when you do not have enough savings.
5. Saving up for Future Expenditures
When it comes to saving up for a boat or cosmetic surgery, there are always lifestyle loans available from certain banks. In fact, there are loans designed for nearly every type of purchase, from financing a baby’s nursery construction to buying a brand-new car.
Loans help you bridge the gap between savings and purchasing that coveted item. Try to save up for future expenditures through traditional savings accounts, money markets, and dividend reinvestment. Saving up for a major item is always better than borrowing money that will always have an interest and negative impacts on your credit.
Remind yourself that there will always be challenges from a financial perspective in life. Continue to diversify your investments and save whenever possible. The ups and downs in life will eventually balance out.