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Financial decisions you wish you had taken in your 20s (but better late than never)

Akshata Kamath
Akshata KamathNov 12, 2022 | 09:00

Financial decisions you wish you had taken in your 20s (but better late than never)

Financial advice that you should heed to if you are in your 20s. Illustration: Geetanjali, DailyO)

If you are in your 20s, here's some financial advice you will get from those who have crossed the benchmark: Save money from a young age even if its little, invest your time and money in essential skills, avoid debt, learn to say 'NO', repay your credit card bills on time, and focus more on learning than earning.  

1. Savings: Probably the most underrated lesson that most people in their 30s and 40s talk about is that they wished that they had saved some money than spending it on impulse purchases and unnecessary things. Since educational institutes don't really teach us the importance of saving but incentivize scoring marks in exams, the importance of saving enough for rainy days is felt only when you are in your 30s. 

If you’re not saving, it’s a sign that you’re not living within your means.

2. Investments: Though money doesn't grow on trees, it definitely grows when you invest it somewhere- be it in yourself, some stocks, or real estate or even in mutual funds. Only when you learn to manage money and time in small amounts and have the habit of saving money, will you be more inclined and disciplined enough to manage large amounts of money and grow it over time. So start with the change in your pocket and invest your time and money in growing your skills, money and experiences. 

3. Don't take debt too soon: Debt only looks simple and easy till you get it. This is because in your 20s, it is easier and necessary to build an emergency fund and invest in assets. Also, it is harder to repay a loan than getting one and if you take a loan, you might repent that you spent most of your 20s repaying something when you could have spent it for something useful.  

4. You don't need to splurge: When you get your hands on new money in your 20s, you might be really tempted to spend it on your lavish dreams and desires. That expensive bike, that green iPhone and trips to fancy restaurants might be on your to-do list and topics about investing and saving might feel ''boring''. This is the mistake most of us make (and live to regret) and since we get carried away with our desires, most people wish they had saved at least some amount instead of splurging them on fleeting desires.   

5. Learn to say NO: In your 20s, learning to live within your means might be a tightrope to walk on. This means that while you have to save, spend on your needs and even socialise and build a network or go out with your friends, saying NO to someone or something might seem like an impossible task. You have to learn to prioritise on your short term and long term financial goals and stop pleasing your friends all the time in an attempt to impress them. 

6. Repay your credit card bills on time: Having a credit card usually means that if you ever go overboard on your spending and don't payback the swiped money on time, you will have to spend about 17% repaying this debt. And if you accidentally buy something you regret, you will really wish that you would have saved the money you spent in total.

7. Learning over earning: Your 20s are a great time to hone your skills, learn the tricks of the trade and grow your network. Its a fantastic time to experiment, work directly under great leaders and master deal makers and acquire essential skills like negotiating, communicating, coding etc. The better your skills, the more you can add value to people around you and the more money you can make. In fact, doing what you are good at will help you achieve financial freedom quite soon.

What other financial advice do you wish someone had given you in your 20s?

Last updated: November 12, 2022 | 09:00
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