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Early Risers: Why saving money when you’re young helps considerably

When you’re in your 20s, you probably aren’t thinking about retirement, an emergency fund or budgeting your dollars. But should you be?

The easy answer is yes, as what you’re doing in your 20s can determine not only how much money you have but the ability to make smart decisions about that same money.

You also can’t discount being helped along the way, either. For instance, if you’re parents are helping you with paying your bills or they’re making it a point to pay utilities or for your cell phone, you as the 20 something year old need to consider cutting that cord for once, so you can learn how to budget for yourself.

If you have a job, and are making money, but mom and dad are paying rent and utilities, and that money in your paycheck goes to this and that, with no real semblance of order behind it, then you really aren’t budgeting per say but rather relying on income that eventually will go away as you get older (at least that is mom and dad’s plan).

The better option is to take your income and expenses and start putting together a budget solely depending on your wage, minus your parents. This will tell you two things: whether you can actually afford your lifestyle and also force you to make decisions about where your money is going.

That budget also will allow you to build a savings account, rather than haphazardly spending on something other than putting aside that proverbial “nest egg.” The always-important emergency fund pays as you get older and have a home or responsibilities that continue to mount. Rather than borrow the money, you can have it available, minus the ill effects of the loan.

In addition to coming up with a budget that works for you and leaving mom and dad out of it, you also should consider the future. Believe it or not, you’ll eventually (and quickly) get to the point where you’re about to retire and those thoughts need implanted in your money habits as soon as possible.

If your company or job offers a retirement plan, take advantage of it and invest fully, particularly if the company is willing to contribute in some form or fashion. When you budget properly and invest fully, you won’t miss the money that is coming out of your paycheck, and be glad you decided to when it comes time to call it a career.

This isn’t to suggest that you have to live your 20s like your 30 years older than what you are, but money decisions should never be age specific.

Money Mistakes: Why you’ll regret certain financial miscues

You wouldn’t be the first person to feel bad about a money decision, nor will you be the last. The question is how do you avoid these in the first place?
Bad money decisions aren’t exclusive to one particular type of person. Even those who would be considered financially sound and have a money acumen second to none have made moves with their cash that would be a real head-scratcher.

Then again, if you’re plagued with the inability to save money and can’t budget much more than sporadically at best, you’re faced with no only difficult decisions but ones that you wish you had back.

So what are some of these ill-advised money miscues?

Perhaps the most important one is the one that is the easiest and that’s having a budget. The budget is the nucleus, the bread and butter or any other piece of hyperbole you can come up with as it relates to just how paramount a budget is. This is a simple way to manage income and expenses and know exactly what you’re spending and if saving is a pipe dream or the reality that will lead to that nest egg and future planning that is a necessity.

As part of those expenses, often times you tend to overspend on two main items: home and car. The former often comes with that want and need for a beautiful house, even if the mortgage payment is one that is depleting most of your income. Your house payment shouldn’t be accounting for half or more of what you can afford income wise each month, but some tend to go a little overboard with the home, because they equate that to the most important purchase and should be allotted with the most money spent.

Cars are money pits and having a large car payment goes along the same lines with the mortgage: only buy what you can afford and resist the urge to overspend.

Of course, and arguably an overlooked and undervalued aspect of money is your retirement, more specifically ignoring it or not treating as serious as you should. If you’re not buying into retirement company plan, shame on you. That typically involves investing and having the company match. Don’t throw away free money and opt to retire safely and securely at an age that is conducive to not sticking around the office until you’re in your 80s.

Swinging and missing at money saving goals isn’t out of the question, but it’s a little harder to swallow when you get up to bat and take a cut without even having a bat in your hand. In short, don’t sabotage your money by not making choices that can stand alone as intelligent.

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