by Cortney Meng
If you just recently turned 18, a world of new possibilities has just opened up to you as a legal adult. You can vote, get a full-time job, rent an apartment, purchase motor vehicles and even real estate. Many of you will soon be paying your way through college as well. The next few years will be a formative time during which you develop many of the habits—good and bad—that will inform your decision-making and long-term financial outcome. To get started on the right foot, here are some useful tips to consider as a young adult.
Research potential career paths: Whether you’re headed to college or entering the job market, you’re likely spending a lot of your time thinking about what kind of work you want to do. Check out the 25 top paying jobs in 2016 here. Many fields offer lucrative positions for individuals with and without college degrees. But the job market is always changing, so it’s important to do your research and find a career you’ll enjoy that also has a bright future.
Set periodic financial benchmarks: Your needs and wants will change rapidly over the next few years. It’s important to set benchmarks so that your savings strategy can be tailored to hit them all. Whether you’re saving to buy a pair of skis, pay for college, buy a car or put a down payment on a home, you have to start somewhere. Pinpoint how much you’ll need every week, month and year to hit your targets and stay committed.
Start a retirement fund: The sooner you open a retirement account, the more lucrative it will be in the long run. While your return on investment will vary depending on how your savings are invested, it is a general rule that the longer your investments have to mature, the more valuable they will be. Many people don’t start thinking about retirement until it’s too late. Get a jump now and save yourself lots of stress down the road.
Establish a credit history: You’ll need a good credit score to enjoy many of the benefits of becoming a legal adult. Getting a credit card with a small balance may be one possibility, but you’ll have to make sure to make all your payments each month and keep your balance below 50 percent. You can also start building credit by making timely monthly payments on other loans or bills you may have.
Purchase whole life insurance: Age and health are two of the most significant factors when determining what your insurance premiums will cost. If you purchase a whole life insurance policy now while you’re young and healthy, that rate will be locked in permanently. In addition, whole life insurance policies have a savings element that will build equity as you make payments. While it is not intended as an investment vehicle, it is an added bonus that is particularly valuable if you start a policy when you’re young.
To learn more about saving as a young adult, check out our online Learning Center here or speak with a Milford Bank representative at a location near you!