Without doubt, your 20s is an exciting time. You’ve probably started to settle into a career and are enjoying your independence. Perhaps you’ve purchased a car, taken an overseas holiday (or two) or moved into a rental property with a partner or a couple of friends?
You may be experiencing more freedom than you ever have, but it’s also a pivotal time to consider your financial future. But how do you save and invest for your later years and still manage your current financial responsibilities?
We want to give you a head start, so we’ve compiled a list of moves to make in your 20s to set yourself up – and still enjoy life along the way!
Having a budget helps you understand how much you’ll spend or save each month. It also allows you to compare and track your income and expenses so you can manage your finances and develop good savings habits. Also remember to adjust your budget on a regular basis to make sure it’s realistic for your changing needs. For example, if you’re saving for a home loan, you may need to reduce your entertainment budget, so you can allocate the money to your house deposit.
A good credit score not only affects your chances of being approved for a loan, it can also influence the lender’s interest rate. Take the first step and check your credit score for free with a reputable credit reporting body like canstar.com.au/credit-score. If your credit score is low, there’s a few things you can do to improve it, such as lowering your credit card limit and paying your rent (or mortgage), utility bills and credit card repayments on time.
Although credit cards can help you build your credit rating (see above), if you’re spending money you don’t have, it’s best to avoid credit altogether. High interest credit card payments could be one of the financial hurdles stopping you from getting ahead. So understand how much you owe and come up with a plan to pay off your credit card(s) as soon as possible. And if you are using credit, try to pay it off in full every month.
A possible alternative to credit is a buy now pay later plan like Afterpay and Zip Pay. These interest-free payment options allow you to buy goods and services, receive them immediately and pay for the purchase over time via regular instalments. But tread carefully because if you miss a payment or don’t pay off the purchase in the agreed period you may be charged late and/or service fees which can add up quickly. For more information, read our buy now, pay later plan article.
Becoming a home owner is a smart investment. Committing to a 25 or 30-year home loan may seem overwhelming when you’re in your 20s, but there’s definite upsides. Firstly, it’s yours so you can make it your own. Also, as property is usually a long term investment, it’s a stable option compared to other investments like shares. And it’s always good to have a diversified portfolio. You may not be ready to buy now but start saving that deposit so when you’re ready you’ll have the money to do it.
If you’re thinking about alternative investment options that could deliver higher returns in the long run, now could be a good time to see a financial planner – that’s right they do more than just help your parents get ready for retirement. If you invest when you’re young, the effects of compound interest means you’re earning interest on your interest – which can make a big difference over time.
Making extra contributions to your super is a great way to boost your future nest egg. Small amounts now add up over time, and voluntary contributions can reduce the amount of tax you pay. To see how extra contributions make a difference, visit our ‘Boost My Super Calculator’ at eisuper.com.au/calculators.
For more information, contact an EISS Super Financial Planner by calling 1300 369 901 (select option 2) or visit eisuper.com.au/appointment.
Alternatively, visit our Money Matters e-learning platform. Available 24/7 across any device, Money Matters has a range of topics from managing your money, dealing with debt, super basics and investing. Visit eisuper.com.au/MoneyMatters today.
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