You are starting your career, and you know you should save some of your income. Here are some essentials to saving and helping secure your future.
Make a Budget
One of the biggest tools to help you save money is a budget. A budget helps you plan where you want your money to go. If you have never made a budget before, you can start by keeping track of all your expenses for a month. At the end of the month, examine how you are spending your money and determine how you can spend it more wisely. If you are trying to save as much money as you can, you should cut down on your expenses as much as reasonably possible. You can still live well while not spending as much.
Start an Emergency Fund
What happens if your car breaks down and you cannot make it to work? What if you have a health crisis or lose your job? If you do not have any money saved for emergencies, you will be in a bind. You might have to use your credit card or get a loan. Both options will cost more money than if you were able to pay for the work on your car out of pocket. An emergency fund should be one of your top priorities in your budget. It can help you pay for unexpected costs and avoid interest. Once you have enough money to cover a few months' expenses, you can stop putting money towards your emergency fund and start putting it towards other items on your budget.
You work hard for your money. Why not make it work for you, too? You can invest your money in high-yield savings accounts, mutual funds, bonds, stocks, real estate, and retirement accounts. Remember that every investment carries some risk, so do your research. Starting your investments as soon as possible can lead to large savings when you are ready to retire. For example, you could have $1 million at age 65 if, at age 22, you start investing $50 each month in your 401k and your company matches your contributions at 50%.
Not only is saving important, but it is quite possible. Make wise spending and investing choices from the start, and your wallet will be better able to handle what life throws at you now and in the future. Use our Find An Advisor tool to learn more about how you can save for your future.