June 9, 2011, 6:00 am

Personal Finance For The Single 20-Somethings

by: MD    Category: Assets and Net Worth
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Money Talk For Single FolksThere’s plenty of advice out there that’s given by married folks. I find that many of the well established personal finance bloggers are married. We often see posts going up about how to save money on your next family vacation or how to teach your kids about managing money.

What about us single people? Rarely do I see posts aimed at single 20-somethings that are looking to improve either their business or their finances.

I wanted to throw out some random thoughts and tips on personal finance for the single dudes out there. I also wanted to ditch the typical advice of “cut your own hair” or “never go out.” This one is for all of the single 20-somethings reading this that want personal finance/business points geared towards them:

Never flaunt your success.

When it comes to business and money in your 20s I’ve noticed that too many of my peers are quick to flaunt their success. It seems like modesty has gone out the window. Everyone wants to buy the flashiest car after college instead of the most economical one. People want to post on Facebook about how they just bought some really expensive new gadget. Showing off appears to be a fun thing to do. What we don’t realize is that some of the most successful people will never talk about themselves or flaunt anything at all.

I’ve seen friends flaunt their financial success in order to impress someone that they like. It may seem like a good idea at first, but in the end it’s not worth trying to impress materialistic people. Flaunting your success can really backfire on you. You have to think about what would happen if you hit a low point. Do you think the people that were impressed with your success would care about you? I just think that we can all stand to benefit a little from being more humble. You just never know when you can hit a low point. When you do hit a low point you’re going to hope that you have real friends around you to support you.

Stay focused.

You need to keep your eye on the prize. I know this first hand. The last few weeks I’ve been sort of struggling with blogging goals because it’s really easy to get distracted by any new young ladies that can enter your life. It really is too easy to get distracted by life and its many distractions. The problem with getting distracted is that you lose sight of your financial goals and any other goals that you may have in life. You really don’t want to hit 30 and regret the fact that you lost focus in your 20s.

When it comes to staying focused as a single 20-something it relates to all areas of one’s life. It’s vital to stay focused on your financial, career, and health goals. It’s really easy to get sidetracked. It’s really easy to get stuck in a job that you hate just because you need the money. It’s easy to take the easy way out and put things on cruise control. If you manage to stay focused a majority of the time you’ll be very thankful when you grow older and reflect on your accomplishments.

The best way to stay focused in my opinion is to always have your goals on your mind. You can put a picture of that dream home beside your computer desk. You can surround yourself with positive people. You can setup a challenge with a buddy. No matter what approach you take it’s important that you stay focused on your goals.

Pay yourself first.

Paying yourself first is the best way to save money. It’s a concept that’s so simple that it often gets overlooked. When you get your paycheck you’re going to want to buy some cool stuff or to go out. That’s fine. The problem develops when you spend all of your money and you realize that you have nothing left to put aside. This is why I strongly advocate that you put your money into your savings account first. Once you pay yourself first you can spend the rest of guilt-free purchases that you’ll enjoy.

Work towards crushing your debt.

The sooner you kill your debt, the sooner that you can work towards building for the rest of your life. I know that it can feel like a never ending cycle when you find yourself paying off student debt after college. The thing you must remember is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The sooner you eliminate your debt, the better off you will be.

Invest in yourself.

I’m a huge supporter of investing in yourself. I’ve covered the topic of investing in yourself here before, but I just wanted to reinforce this idea today. Life in your 20s is the best time to take advantage of time and money. If you can leverage the little money that you have with the plethora of time on your side, you can do wonderful things for your future. Are you investing in yourself?

Those are just some random personal finance thoughts I had for all of the single 20-somethings out there. Did I miss anything? Please feel free to share some more thoughts here.

(photo credit: a.drian)

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Comments

Single 20-somethings are saddled with a higher cost of living than their living-together counterparts, but singles also have way more freedom and flexibility in their lifestyle choices. That can be a huge advantage because the only person stopping you from reaching your financial goals is you.

I feel that single 20 somethings can benefit from the general personal finance information, as long as it doesn’t say “couples finance”. Everything else is usually geared towards individuals as opposed to families.

Great topic. I often have those conversation with collegues in their 20’s but most often than not they just won’t take any advice and burn their money has it comes in.

I totally crashed in my first job out of college and lost pretty much everything I had (which wasn’t much) and had to go back to mom and dad. It was a very hard lesson about “the real life” but I’ve learned so much from it. I spent the rest of my 20’s building back up and managed to pay off student loans, a new car, bought a house and started investing. I did it all as a single guy so I can relate to this article.

Now in my 30’s I can enjoy a low debt lifestyle and threat myself once in a while without affecting my long term investment goals.

and trust me… I still had tons of fun in my 20’s

First off I love the advice in this article. It truly is something most 20-somethings should hear and take into a count.

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I agree with pay yourself first. I also think young people should start investing early. An investment club would be a good place to start. You would be putting a little money away and learn about investing if you attend the meetings.

I agree with this post wholeheartedly. My girlfriend and I both stayed at home with our parents through college. I was able to graduate debt free and she will graduate with 0 debt. Her motivation was to enter into marriage without any debt — she felt that it wasn’t her future husband’s responsibility to pay for the debt she incurred. I think the 20s something generation thinks about the now and has little consideration for future repercussions. What they do not realize is that their choices affect more people than just themselves.

Great post! As a young woman in her 20s I found this to be really helpful advice and its great to know that I’m already following a lot of the suggestions you outlined. I set up an automatic transfer with my bank so every time I get paid it withdraws a certain amount and puts it directly into my TFSA account. I find when the money isn’t there you learn to live off less.
It’s easy to spend money when you’re young because you have less commitments, but I find if you can instill self discipline by putting away savings now, it makes it a lot easier for the future when there will only be more expenses. Thanks again.

I am 20-something that you said. I totally agree what you said. It is nothing to show off with your new sport car. You are just 20 something. There are still long way to go. You will never know what would happen in your 30 something and 40 something. We need to be humble and keep low profile all the time and gain respect form people.

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