Source: Katie Robinson is the mastermind behind the website, Ask the Young Professional. As a young professional herself, she shares top of the line information and advice on everything from budgeting to choosing a career.
The way you approach your personal finances as a young professional is not going to be the same as when you are in your 30’s, 40’s and beyond.
At this stage in the game, you are dealing with everything from student loan payments to getting your career off the ground and running. Later in life, things change. At that point, you may be more concerned about paying for your child’s college and how much money you need for retirement.
Financial Challenges: You are not Alone
It is easy to believe you are the only one facing a particular finance related challenge. However, this is not typically the case.
You are not the only person in your age group dealing with student loans. You are not the only person struggling to find a career you can sink your teeth into.
I have fallen in love with Robinson’s website, thanks to her targeted advice and easy to read writing style. I think you will find the following advice quite helpful:
1. Is there any one problem in particular, finance related, that holds back the majority of young professionals?
I’m going to give an answer that might seem very vague, but I think its 100% true. The one finance problem that holds back the majority of young professionals is a lack of knowledge. Every young professional is not going to know the ins and outs of finance. I mean come on with all those crazy letters and numbers like 401k, IRA, APR, etc. how are we suppose to figure it out? For those who do know what they’re talking about, that’s awesome! But I bet you studied it in school or had someone tell you what you need to know. I think the majority of young professionals never got that knowledge so now they’re overwhelmed and don’t know what to do.
2. What is the best financial advice you could give a young professional who just landed his or her first job?
Save! I definitely could have saved more when I was in college and when I first started working at my big girl job. There’s less to worry about during college and right after graduating. Sure you might have to pay for an apartment, groceries and that sort of thing, but you don’t have children, loans, debt and all the future responsibilities of being a full fledged adult. You can afford to spend less on yourself and save more now so take advantage of it! I think the best goal is to save 30% of a paycheck.
3. How do you manage to have fun, while still keeping your finances in check, as a twenty-something?
Recently my student loans came in so you’re asking me this question at the perfect time! I’ve already taken a look at my budget and made the necessary preparations to pay off my student loans. It was hard because I’m the type of person who likes to be spontaneous and I love trying new experiences. So what I did was start an adventure fund! I decided to have a goal of saving $300 to spend on concerts, weekend trips, going out with friends, and any other fun times I otherwise would have to decline. I keep this $300 in cash in an envelope. On the back of the envelope I keep track of when I took out money and for what. Then when I can I replenish what I can. This month I’m using my adventure fund for extra expenses at a Kenny Chesney concert (I bought the tickets way in advance so I didn’t use my adventure fund), a weekend trip for a birthday party, and going out for drinks with a friend who I haven’t seen in awhile. I love this system because it’s separate from my monthly budget, I completely control how I want to use it and I can still be the fun, spontaneous me!
If you are a twenty-something in need of personal finance advice, this information is sure to put you on the right track. Like many others, you are going through a learning phase as far as your finances are concerned. Stay educated, make good decisions, and take the steps necessary to enjoy a financially sound future.