While people of every age and income level can benefit from some financial guidance, young adults are especially in need. Managing money is often toughest for young Americans – they're frequently earning lower incomes, dealing with expenses like student loan payments and struggling with their lack of experience with financial matters.
For any family banker, it's important to check up with individuals between the ages of 18 and 30, making sure they have a good handle on their savings, their debts and their day-to-day budgets. Money matters can be difficult for young people, but if you fall into this age group, you'll be much better off if you bear in mind the following financial tips.
Learn self control
First, sit down and do some math – take your monthly income, subtract your rent and other bills, and come up with a monthly budget. Know how much disposable cash you have to spend, and stick to that number. You'll always be tempted to purchase a new car or go on an exciting vacation, but if you can't afford it, you can't afford it. Don't overextend your budget – gratification now is nice, but it might not be worth the financial hardship it brings later.
Learn the ropes of taxes
It's important to have a solid understanding of tax laws and how they affect your finances. Investopedia gives the following example – if you make $35,000 a year in California, that's about $27,600 after taxes, or $2,300 a month. If you get a raise to $41,000, that's not an increase in $6,000 net pay – after taxes, it's only about $4,200, or $350 monthly. The more you make, the more it's taxed, and you need to be mindful of this sliding scale. The news source notes that you're better off in the long run handling your tax return yourself than handing it off to a professional, as there's a lot of bad tax advice floating around out there.
Start saving early
Even if you're still young and not making much money, it's never too early to begin saving. The New York Times notes that given the changing landscape of Social Security, it's now looking very likely that today's young people will have to fund their own retirements. That means it's imperative to begin saving as soon as possible. Don't think of saving as optional – set aside a mandatory amount of money for yourself each month or each year, and stick to that mandate.