With our archives now 3,500+ articles deep, we’ve decided to republish a classic piece each Friday to help our newer readers discover some of the best, evergreen gems from the past. This article was originally published in May 2015.
When you’re in your twenties, you may not think too much about getting your financial house in order. Such a goal may feel like the kind of thing you can work on once you settle down and start your “real life.” After all, it may not seem like you have many assets to manage; you may be just out of college, still in debt, and not making much money at your first job. But even so, there are steps you can start taking now that will lay a good foundation for building wealth and security as you get older.
Every man is different, so naturally everyone is going to have different financial goals. But if you’re feeling confused and overwhelmed about money, it’s sometimes helpful to see suggestions for milestones to hit at certain points in your life. You can then take those broad suggestions and refine them so they fit your personal circumstances. With that in mind, here are 11 financial goals to work towards in your twenties:
1. Start Educating Yourself About Personal Finance
One of the weird things about the modern age, is that even though money plays such a huge role in our lives, most of us don’t get any formal personal finance classes in school. Parents often don’t talk with their kids about the finer points of money management either. This is unfortunate, because knowledge truly is power.
When I was in law school I started a blog called The Frugal Law Student. I wanted to share tips with fellow law students about how to save money while getting your JD. Yet at the time, I didn’t know much about personal finance myself! So I went into autodidact mode and started learning about money, saving, and so on. This self-taught course really enriched my life.
You don’t have to start a blog to become a savvy money manager. It’s never too late to start educating yourself about the world of personal finance, and it’s as easy as reading the vast amount of free content online about the topic. Here are some of the sites I found invaluable during my own finance education (as well as a few that started after I hung up my FLS hat):
Get Rich SlowlyThe Simple DollarI Will Teach You To Be RichWise BreadMr. Money MustacheConsumerism CommentaryMint.com BlogFinancial SamuraiTwo Cents (by LifeHacker)Coursera (while not a blog, Coursera offers several personal finance-related classes)
In addition to reading personal finance sites, I read pretty much every single book on personal finance in Tulsa county’s library system. You can find a list of the books I found the most useful here. You’ll discover that those books, and personal finance books in general, often say similar things, but reading multiple sources with slightly different angles and perspectives is helpful in ingraining the fundamental principles of personal finance into your brain.
2. Create a Budget
There’s a moment from my college days that I distinctly remember. It was just a few months after I was completely on my own for the first time. I was going through a stack of bills I needed to pay, and suddenly felt overwhelmed. I made just enough with my job as a waiter to cover my expenses. It felt like I would never get ahead financially with the way things were going