Money & Life contributors draw on their diverse range of experience to present you with insights and guidance that will help you manage your financial wellbeing, achieve your lifestyle goals and plan for your financial future.
Are you a 20-something, a Millennial, a Gen Y or a Gen Next? Actually, it’s a trick question, as they’re all the same thing. Whether you believe such a label applies to you or not, you may think managing your money better isn’t something you should be doing until you’re 30-something and living in your own home with kids.
Here we feature some money blogs to show you that getting your head around money management in your 20s can be fun and set you up for life. And we get expert tips from a 20-something CERTIFIED FINANCAL PLANNER® professional to set you on your way to money mastery.
Sexy money blogs
The titillatingly-titled, Budgets are $exy, is a fun and informative site with new posts every two to three days. Although it’s based in the US, most articles translate to Australia. Like 15 great financial goals to hit “if you want to be above average in this wacko world”.
The site is the brainchild of J. Money – Mr Money – who posts amusing columns on things such as spavings, a term which applies to ‘fake savings’ that only happen when you spend money.
“What’s that? The Ferrari dealership is having a $50,000 off sale? Awesome – here’s my $300,000!”
Australian blog, Hey, it’s just money features articles such as Couple Money-ing about how a young couple managed to save faster for a home deposit; Breaking Bad Habits which looks at how guilty pleasures such as compulsively shopping for shoes can be addictive and cost you a lot of money. It also bravely tackles the much worse “habits” of smoking and alcohol abuse which are detrimental to both your health and your wallet.
Remember to water, another Aussie site, offers real life examples that the blogger has experienced to help you with your own situation. A recent article was about how most people will come to a stage in life where they have to share their finances with another person. The Truth about Finances and Your Relationship.
Another US site, Moneyning was founded in 2007 by David Ning and has articles such as how to save now on a new gym membership, instead of being like everybody else who plan on joining a gym as a New Year’s resolution. There’s also a money management advice column, where David Ning says he will personally try to answer all genuine questions.
The logical next step when becoming aware of your financial goals and possible problems is to seek expert financial advice.
Jeremy Chiel is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional and partner at Stonehouse in Sydney, with 10 years’ experience. Also still in his 20s, he’s perfectly placed to give other 20-somethings financial advice.
“This decade has significant life changes, and many of us are moving out of home, starting a career and looking after ourselves financially. With the prevalence of social media, it is only too easy to see others living a seemingly envious lifestyle full of travel and adventure,” says Chiel.
“While organising finances might appear less exciting, it is crucial to establish a solid foundation which can ultimately lead to financial success and freedom,” he adds.
Here Jeremy Chiel CFP® looks at a few things to consider:
Education – This is a time to teach yourself about personal financial management, investing and what other successful individuals do. There are endless books available on these topics which are extremely valuable. Make it more interesting by having a friend read the same book and then discuss it with them.
Cashflow – Organising a robust budget doesn’t need to be overly time consuming or complicated. Make a list of all expenses and break these into ‘fixed’ costs which are non-negotiable, and ‘variable’ expenses such as eating out or clothing, which can be controlled. Also create a savings goal and set aside an amount (automated) from each pay. This exercise will ensure a thorough understanding of how to manage cashflow.
Master debt – If you have credit card debt, or are applying for a new one, understand the traps of balance transfers, high interest rates and that making a minimum repayment won’t repay a debt. Holidays paid for on a credit card easily add up. Estimate the cost of a trip, then save for a period of six to 12 months.
Create an emergency fund – Many people live pay to pay, and even a few weeks without an income could cause financial stress. Set aside funds over time which are only to be used in an emergency. Aim to set aside one month’s living expenses, then gradually increase this to three months’ expenses.
Appearances – Focus on your own situation and what can be controlled, as opposed to what others might be purchasing. Don’t try to keep up with others when it comes to lifestyle spending, your future finances will thank you if you stick to what you can afford.
Goals – Saving for large items can be much easier by breaking up the expense into small amounts over time. Quantify financial goals and set a date to reach them.
“Ultimately what is important about finances at this stage is getting started. Aim for progress over perfection, and managing our finances is something that improves with time,” says Chiel.
More money blogs:
Formerly Blonde on a Budget, Cait Flanders’s site documents the journey of how its founder paid off $28,000 credit card debt in under two years.