What Money Lessons Would You Give Your Younger Self?
While many people get taught the basics of money management at a young age, it’s only when we reach adulthood that we learn of the harsh realities of finance. For some people, a few money mistakes as a young man or woman can cause lasting consequences for many years.
If you’ve made some good (and bad) financial choices in your life so far, what money lessons would you give to your younger self? The following facts may no doubt have given you a smoother ride if you started off with a bumpy ride:
Start contributing to your retirement fund ASAP
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve just left college or you are in your mid-30s. Anyone can start to build a pot of money to enjoy when they retire. Of course, it makes sense to do that sooner rather than later so that there is more cash available in the retirement fund.
The problem facing many youngsters today is that they have put little to no thought into building a retirement fund. Take a look at http://money.cnn.com/retirement/guide/401k_401kplans.moneymag/ for more info on retirement savings.
Build up a reserve of cash for emergencies
If an unexpected bill were to come up, many people would, unfortunately, turn to their credit cards for help. They can be lifesavers for many emergency situations, but the disadvantage is they could place a lot of stress on one’s finances.
As you know, when a credit card balance does not get repaid, interest will get charged on it. Plus, each month, more interest will get added to the account – effectively compounding it. If only the minimum repayment gets made, it can take someone a lifetime to pay off the balance!
One tip you may have wished to tell your younger self is to build up a reserve of money for any emergency situations. Even an automatic deduction of $25 a month into a savings account can soon build up to a sizeable balance, negating the need to use credit cards for emergency expenses.
Keep an eye on your credit report
Whenever you borrow money, such as taking out a loan or credit card with a bank, details of that lending will get recorded in a credit report. In a nutshell, it’s a “file” of a person’s past credit history.
Believe it or not, people don’t usually look at their credit reports unless there is something wrong (i.e. they get declined for borrowing). Whether you borrow money or not, it’s essential to regularly check your credit report for any anomalies. Why is that important, you might be wondering?
Well, the amount of Internet shopping and mobile commerce that we all do each year has risen exponentially. As a result, it has presented new opportunities for fraudsters to steal your hard-earned cash. Computer malware, for example, has made it easier for career criminals to hack into people’s online banking accounts and digital wallets.
If you see one or more suspicious entries in your credit report, it could be that someone has fraudulently taken out credit in your name. Of course, fraudsters won’t pay back the borrowing taken out in your name, and so you could end up with all sorts of financial and legal issues as a result.
In such situations, websites like https://creditrepaircompanies.com/remove-negative-items/ can give you ideas on how to resolve those problems. But, prevention is better than the cure, as they say. A simple check on your credit report at least twice a year can help you spot and remedy any issues with less hassle.
Don’t give into the temptation to “buy now, pay later”
Yes, there are some exceptions to that rule, such as the purchase of a house or a new car. But, for “nice things” like material goods and vacations, you are better off saving the money for them. Using credit cards and loans to get the latest iPhone or some expensive designer clothing is not a good idea!
Why is that so bad, I hear you ask? The thing about “buy now, pay later” is that people rarely pay things back later! Even if they get paid with a small monthly installment, you will usually end up paying back more than you borrowed!
Bills come first
Last, but not least, one fact everyone would tell their younger selves is that their bills come first! Using your pay to buy material goods or go on a shopping spree can well leave you without money to pay your rent or food bills, for example.
Always make sure that your bills get covered when you get paid, including food and your emergency savings fund. Anything left over can get used as spending money!