Take the Stage: Starting Out
“Wherever you go, there you are” is a classic reminder to live consciously and fully in each moment. In terms of financial confidence and well-being, that advice makes excellent sense as well.
Wherever you are in life — starting out, building a family, advancing your career, or contemplating retirement — there are tools and support to help you manage the specific financial challenges you face.
This article kicks off a four-part series on relevant financial resources for each stage of your life, and how they can be leveraged to improve your confidence, optimize your financial security and position you for success now and in the future.
Fresh from school and just beginning their careers, many young adults struggle to reconcile debt and opportunity. On the one hand, there are student loans to pay off at a time when your salary may barely cover basic necessities. On the other hand, the world beckons and promising career and social opportunities may involve considerable expense — clothes, moving, entertaining, advanced education — to pursue. Here are some ideas and tools to help manage the financial complexities of just starting out.
Focus strategically. What’s important to you? Write down your short- and long-term goals — six months, one year, three years and five years out. (Don’t worry, you can adjust them later as your goals change.) Committing your dreams and responsibilities to a journal or computer has a marvelous way of clarifying your thoughts.
Budget realistically. Once you know what you want to accomplish, set up a budget to get there. Confident Planners, working Americans with the highest financial and emotional confidence scores, put above-average emphasis on having a realistic plan and sticking with it. Follow their lead. A successful budget can enable you to meet your financial obligations and help you grow your bank balances toward achieving your life goals. In addition to taking care of everyday expenses, try to pay down outstanding school loans — a little each month — and begin to build an emergency fund to protect yourself from the unexpected. Here are some more budgeting ideas.
Save religiously. Now is the time to build a world-class savings habit. You have many years ahead of you to accumulate wealth through the incredible power of compounding. Begin saving as early as possible and avoid withdrawing earnings. Set up automatic savings at your bank. If your company has a 401K
match program, take advantage of it. Also, consider disability insurance to help protect your income
stream, and look into the cash value growth advantages of whole life insurance.
Get help. Many young adults think they don’t have enough wealth to consult with a financial advisor.
The opposite is true. A financial advisor wants to help you make the most of what you have now and lay
a strong financial foundation for the future. It’s an opportunity to have a dialogue with an unbiased notyour-
parent expert who will help you step back and see the big picture of your financial life. What’s the
best way to prioritize debt reduction? Which income-building strategies are right for you? Could you use
the benefits of protections like disability or life insurance? How much of your paycheck should you
allocate to retirement savings? The answers to these and other questions will literally shape your
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2018-53043 Exp. 01/20