You’ve made the commitment to start “adult-ing,” a very important first step. Don’t start to build from the roof down, though: make sure that you’re laying a strong financial foundation.
In our last post we talked about 8 Financial Mistakes to Avoid in Your 20s and 30s. Here are five more money mistakes to watch out for:
1. Going on a Financial Blind Date With Your Significant Other: Not Having the Money Talk First
Talking about money isn’t romantic and can be downright uncomfortable. That’s why many couples go into marriage—a financial partnership—without knowing exactly who they are partnering with. Discussing personal finances, debt, goals, spending patterns and how you make financial decisions with your partner before marriage, or soon thereafter, is critical to your short- and long-term financial health. (For related reading, see: Don’t Let Financial Differences Lead to Divorce.)
2. Living la Vida Loca: Splurging on the Wedding or a Baby
Important milestones like a wedding, a first child or even your first house are exciting and make precious memories that last a lifetime. But be careful not to let them put you in debt or divert you from a financial plan that allows you to make other great memories down the road. Know what you can afford, get creative within your budget, and make sure you’re investing in your partner’s and children’s future as well. The kids won’t mind—or even remember—that you didn’t buy them that top-of-the-line stroller. What they’ll remember is your smile and their favorite red ball. #Priceless
3. Not Buckling Your Seat Belt: Neglecting Insurance
It’s tempting to skimp on insurance once you’ve covered your basic health and homeowner’s policies, but that’s a big mistake many young adults make. Insurance is an uncomfortable topic—and the options can be very confusing—so covering yourself with health, life, car, home, disability and long-term disability insurance often gets put on the back burner. Cover yourself adequately now so that when the unexpected happens, it’s not a financial disaster. (For related reading, see: Introduction to Insurance.)
4. Going for the Gold: Taking a Job for the Pay
While a great offer is always tempting, make sure that any job you take is something that will advance you in the direction you want to go. Don’t take a job just because the money is great, although that’s important too. If you do, you could get stuck in a job you don’t love with nowhere to go. Take a job that is going to move you closer to the job you want—and the even-higher salary you want—in a couple of years.
5. Putting Too Many Eggs in the Wrong Basket: Not Prioritizing Savings
Maxing out your 401(k) or IRA is smart, but don’t forget to save for other major purchases that may be coming up sooner than you think, like buying a new home, having children, or continuing your education. Multiple savings accounts can be a great way to keep your eye on multiple baskets! Be careful, too, not to prioritize your children’s education over saving for your own retirement. Student loans are less expensive than the kind of loans your kids would have to take out to support you if you haven’t set enough savings aside to support your own retirement.
Enjoy this special time, living your life to the fullest. If you make sure you’re also making smart financial choices, you’ll really enjoy your 20s and 30s, knowing that you’re building a solid future.
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