Your twenties are a very exciting time of life financially. For example, perhaps you’ve graduated without any debts because you decided to remain living in your parent’s home. Now you’ve got a couple part-time jobs and you’re looking to rent a place with a friend. Or maybe you have a lot of school debt, but you lucked out on a high-paying job and you rent a very expensive condo alone. For the first time, you’re in charge of your financial decisions and that can be overwhelming. Sometimes it’s easier to relax your discipline. But then this can lead to bad habits that can leave you feeling very financially insecure in your 30s, 40s and beyond. The experts at Desjardins Group have some great ideas on how to stay financially disciplined through every age.
Twenty-something: Do you know where your money goes? By getting a handle on your spending now will benefit you in the long-term. The best way to do this is to create a simple and flexible budget. Make a list of your income and expenditures like rent, groceries, utilities, transportation, savings, fun and clothing. Also include a line for debt and for retirement savings. You might wonder why since retirement is decades away. But if you leave the money alone in a high-interest account, your money will grow thanks to compounding interest.
Thirty-something: You have more purchasing power now that you’re established in your career. But that means it’s easy to pack on the debt, too. Perhaps you own a house or a condo, you’ve leased a car, you’ve taken a couple vacations, and maybe you’ve just had a really big wedding and a baby or two. If you were a diligent saver in your twenties, chances are you have a pile of cash put aside for that pile of bills on your desk. If the opposite is true, then it’s time to shut down the debt before it snowballs into your forties. Try to pay off your credit cards each month too. Or aim to pay more than the minimum. And always apply any new found money to your debt. During this decade also, try to put as much as you can afford into an RSP. You’ll really appreciate it in your forties.
Forty-something: Now that your debt is under control, how are your savings? Did you put away as much as you could for retirement and for emergencies? If you have kids, did you consider starting an RESP for their post-secondary education? If you were too focused on reducing your debt in the last decade, there’s still some time to catch up. Speak with a financial advisor about setting up an education fund for your child and about the best strategies for building your retirement savings.
For more information about these tips and to access financial calculators, visit Desjardins Group online at www.desjardins.com.