It’s graduation season! What a happy time. With a huge accomplishment behind you, there are many choices ahead. Whether you are starting a new job or looking for a job, you can create habits now that will help you get ahead of the financial curve. Follow these seven financial commandments so you can look back on your twenties and say, “I did that right.”
Seven Financial Commandments for Millennials
1. If you don’t already have a credit card, get one. Lack of credit has the same effect as bad credit, so building your credit now is a great idea. Pay your credit card off each month so you aren’t carrying a balance. You won’t pay any interest this way, and you will be one step closer to a great credit score.
2. Open your mail and read your online statements. Not paying attention to bills and accounts is the number one way people get into trouble with their personal finances. Missed late fees, overdrafts, and unpaid bills can have a negative impact years down the road. And remember, if you move, always change your address. You can do this free at the post office or pay $1 to do it online at usps.com.
3. Save $100/month. If you start now you could have $1,000,000 in retirement.
4. Get health insurance now. Don’t go even one day without it. Medical bills are the number one reason people file for bankruptcy, so make sure you are covered.
5. Don’t go into debt. I know there are things you want but resist the urge to finance them. Instead, save up for them and pay cash. Ask yourself if your life will really be impacted if you don’t have everything you want right now. Down the road you will thank yourself for not having to fit expenses from years past into an already-tight budget.
6. Get renter’s insurance. It’s cheap, and it protects what you do have.
7. Create a spending plan. It can be on paper, in Excel, or in a program. Simply track what expenses you have each month and how much you have coming in. There’s power in writing something down, and by tracking your spending and income, you won’t have to worry about spending more than you earn.