Hey there, newly-minted adult. I see you and I know you. You’re probably in your early 20s, in college or starting on a career path and chances are that while you’re incredibly intelligent and driven, there is at least one area of your life you’re completely avoiding with a ten-foot pole.
How do I know this about you? Because I too, am a newly minted adult at 24 and have a pretty impressive collection of parking tickets I’ve been ignoring for months. It’s hard to face your money woes when you’ve got so little to spread between bills, groceries, and what little social interaction you can afford. Believe me, I understand. But I’m ready for a change and I bet you are, too.
I’m asking you to embark on a journey with me. I’m collecting the absolute best financial information for young people. We’ll talk cars, student loans, saving, investing, bills and more. I’ll give you great resources for each category. Please actually use them. Let’s get our financial shit together, friends.
Let’s start big. This is the heaviest-hitting category of the bunch and will likely take the longest to tackle. I’m going to show you the best resources under the categories I think are most important: deferment, refinancing and paying off smartly.
Deferment – Deferment means putting off payments on your loan for a period of time. You’ll need to contact your loan servicer in order to find out the rules for each one. This website is a great place to start if you don’t know who your federal loan servicer is. If it’s a private loan, be sure to check your email inbox as you will have gotten messages from them in the past that can you lead you to their site. This article has great information about how to apply for deferment.
Refinancing – Refinancing a loan means consolidating your private and federal loans into one that generally has lower interest and smaller payments. It makes multiple loans simplified. Forbes has great information about refinancing here. You should also check to see if your employer is one of many that offers student loan assistance. Companies like Apple will help employees refinances student loans.
When it comes to paying your loans back strategically, everyone has an opinion. I advise you to peruse articles and resources online, like SALT. SALT guides borrowers through the loan planning and payment process with future-thinking financial advice.
If you already have a new car, you’ve probably financed it. A car payment can be a big burden to shoulder, but it’s doable and you should pay it off. This Huffington Post article has tips to do it faster.
If you need to buy a car, whether it’s for work, school, or just an upgrade, do it the right way. You need to decide if you should purchase a car with the money you have (savings) or if you can finance one. As a college student or young person, it’s unlikely that financing is a great option, but it’s possible. This College Info Geek article is a good guide.
It helps to always bring along an adult, friend or mentor who knows a thing or two about buying a car. I always have my stepdad, who used to be a mechanic, look over any car I buy. I’m getting ready to finance my first new car this year, but have always used savings to purchase vehicles in the past.
Not buying a new car doesn’t mean you can’t think ahead. If you’ve financed a car or already paid one off, make it last! This article has some creative tips for keeping your car running longer, but I also like these foundational guidelines on getting 300,000 miles out of your vehicle.
Saving and Investing
I recently found a really intuitive, exciting financial community I can’t wait to introduce you to. It’s called FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early). It’s a group of young people who are saving a lot, investing a lot and setting themselves up to retire at 40 or younger, creating freedom for themselves and choosing a destiny. Sound interesting? It is, but it’s tough.
Some people are really intense, living in tiny houses or even vans. I’m not asking you do that, but I am suggesting you get on the live-off-half-my-paycheck, save-and-invest the rest bandwagon. I highly recommend:
The FIRE Reddit sub
FIRE Drill Podcast (love this one!)
This is a good article on reducing monthly expenses.
This is a great list of tips for grocery shopping. My biggest tip? Never shop hungry.
Chances are that you spend like me, when you can because you rarely can. That means you end up spending money you shouldn’t just to comfort or treat yourself. Well, don’t.
Here are some good tips to reduce frivolous spending.
This list is long and pretty exhaustive. I hope you take the time to find a financial plan, set goals and create a strategy that works for you. Stop avoiding money! Instead, you should own it. before you know it, you’ll be a 100%, fully fledged adult.
Author Bio: Abby Lee Hood is the founder of ForMillennialEntrepreneurs, a network dedicated to supporting ambitious young entrepreneurs. ForME is currently based in Tennessee, Abby Lee’s home state. She lives with her geriatric dog, writes fiction and manages social media for clients across the US. More importantly, she loves growing indoor plants, planning her next tattoo and plays bluegrass fiddle.
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