No one becomes a millionaire overnight. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and most importantly, a clear sense of financial responsibility. Although it may surprise you, a lot of people with over $1 million in their net worth started working toward that goal well before they had a high-paying job.
The trick isn’t necessarily just saving or investing money, but setting a foundation that will provide for you for years to come. And although it won’t be easy, following through on it will be one of the best decisions you make toward building wealth in your 20s.
1. Up your savings.
While I know it’s something not everyone wants to hear, building up your savings account is an excellent tool to have in your arsenal. A study by Bankrate showed that 69 percent of Americans currently don’t have enough in savings to cover a $500-$1000 surprise bill.
This means that the majority of Americans aren’t prepared for a rainy day and don’t have savings set aside for future endeavors. I’ll admit it can be hard to save when you live paycheck-to-paycheck, but even setting aside a few bucks a week can take you a long ways.
2. Use technology.
Perhaps one of the greatest advantages of the times we live in is the access to technology that not only helps us handle our finances, but potentially helps us earn more. According to a survey conducted by Ernst and Young, 48 percent of current financial technology users are between 18-34.
The youth is dictating how these technologies are implemented. In short, whether you’re looking to save, invest, or even just keep track, there’s a ton of great digital products out right now for you to gain better leverage on your finances.
3. Look out for the rise in cryptocurrency.
Even though to most it’s widely considered unchartered territory, Cryptocurrencies have rapidly been adopted as a great way of earning extra income.
Just this past week Bitcoin surpassed the $4,000 mark, and it’s not the only cryptocurrency making noise. Numerous coins are going from pennies on the dollar to double digits in short runs, which has investors collecting some serious cash. Don’t be afraid of checking a few out, especially if you’re looking to get into trading.
4. Limit your credit card debt.
Credit card debt is one of the biggest plagues on American’s finances, with the average household having approximately $16,425 owed to credit cards. Credit cards by nature aren’t inherently bad, but how people behave with them can be. In short, credit cards are either best used as a way of paying monthly expenses you know you can knock out right away or for emergencies.
5. Start with your credit.
Your credit score is the primary instrument you have to build up financial freedom. As noted by CreditRepair, there are plenty of things you can do to start building up your score while even in college, including looking into a secured credit card, as well as moving any utilities you’re liable for in your name. While these may sound like small things, they can actually add up to quite a bit as you age.
6. Curb going out to eat.
Older generations love knocking the youth for their love of going out to eat. It kills me to say this, but they’re right about one thing: It can seriously be a great way to save money.
As noted by the Motley Fool, Americans on average spend $2,787 per year on restaurants versus $3,971 on groceries. Since going out to eat can be a nice treat, try to limit your times to only those instances versus going because you don’t want to cook. While it might not seem like much, it’ll save you tremendously in the long-run.
7. Invest in long-term stocks.
Believe it or not, younger generations have been getting more into the stock market. As CNBC notes, Millennials have been making a lot of long-term investments in big-ticket tech stocks.
This a smart way to save and can be an excellent way to increase your earning potential down the road. Study up on relatively safe bets and in a few years, you’ll see some nice returns.
8. Come up with a strategy to knock out student loans.
Student loans are an absolutely terrible burden, crippling your financial decisions tremendously. Paying these off will give you much more freedom and a better peace of mind.
Look into some strategies such as paying off the highest interest or lowest balances first, as well as extended payment plans. Trust me, you don’t want these hanging over your head when you’re trying to make a major purchase like a car or house.
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Published on: Aug 17, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.