“Although student debt can be significant and the desire to take advantage of one’s youth can lead to some reckless spending, the beginning of adulthood is a critical period to ensure a prosperous future for yourself. If you act wisely early on, you can reap a lot later on,” said Llewellyn Winkler, FNB Portfolio Manager: Young Professionals. He offers the following advice to young professionals:
1. Set Your Financial Goals
The best way to maintain healthy finances is to set your short and middle-term goals. This allows you to choose how to achieve them, for example, by saving an amount every week. This way, if you plan on buying a first home, for example, it will be easier than trying to find thousands of dollars at once. On the short-term, you could also use this same strategy, for example, to take a trip to Europe.
2. A Budget Is an Excellent Tool
To avoid falling into debt, a budget remains your biggest ally and, contrary to popular belief, it need not be constraining. It should reflect your needs and help you easily keep track of your income and expenses. Having a balanced budget can help you save money to achieve your financial goals.
3. Anticipating Expenses in Adult Life
Though you may have made a detailed budget, unexpected expenses often crop up. To get a good idea of the expenses involved in an event such as moving into your first apartment, for example, a good strategy is to ask someone who has already gone through this, or your financial adviser, what to expect. Another winning strategy is to set up a contingency fund for unexpected expenses, since they always crop up.
4. Credit Score: Managing Your Financial Reputation
A credit profile is a credit history, that is, a person’s capacity to pay off their debt. In other words, a credit score is used to evaluate a person’s reliability when money is lent to them. If you diligently pay off your debt, financial institutions will not hesitate to lend you more money in the future because they will be reassured as to your ability to pay them back. On the contrary, if you skip payments and interest builds up, they will be mistrustful and won’t want to lend you all the money you need to achieve your plans.
“It all comes down to this: by living according to your means today, when you still don’t have any major financial responsibilities you are building good habits that will ensure your long-term financial health,” concluded Winkler.