A debut blog from 20-something year-old, Eoin O’Brien
For many young adults in their 20s, balancing finances and a social life can feel like a juggling act. With loan payments, rent, insurance, and more, it’s no surprise that many 20-somethings put off saving and investing money simply because they don’t know where to start or think that they don’t have time for it. Well, it’s time to find the time. The sooner you start making a financial plan for yourself, the brighter your future will be.
Since starting at Metis Ireland, I have seen that the most financially secure clients all started with good money habits very early in their careers. And ask literally anybody you know who’s older than you what advice they’d give their younger selves, and almost all of them will say “I wish I had started saving earlier”.
Here are 5 fairly easy tips you can implement in your 20s to help take control of your finances:
1. Avoid Short Term Debt
While easy monthly instalment and pay-later options have given us great convenience, that convenience tends to end up landing too many folks in unnecessary and avoidable debt. I know that in your 20s your borrowing capacity tends to be limited, but it’s still important to ensure that you’re not getting yourself into debt by buying stuff you don’t need (well, not too much of it anyway).
2. Pay Yourself First
Look out for Number 1. Whether you’re paid monthly, weekly, or bi-weekly, make sure the first person you pay out of your wages is yourself. We are always told to pay our debts and while I’m not saying “don’t pay your rent”, you should still be aiming to put some portion of your wages into savings at the start of each month. Look after your bills and debts first, then your savings, and the rest can be spent however you like. The general advice is to hold enough cash to pay 3 to 6 months’ worth of expenses in a safe and easy-to-access savings account.
3. Join Your Company Pension Scheme
Let’s be real, joining your company pension scheme is a no-brainer. Not only are there tax benefits to signing up, as contributions to a pension scheme are exempt from tax (depending on your income it could be 20% or 40% at source), but many employers will match your contributions up to a certain percent. It’s basically free money! So by not signing up in your 20s, you could be losing 10 years of free money from your employer.
4. Start Investing
Long-term investing can help your money compound, which means further growth on the existing growth of your investment. Compounding is the ability to grow an investment by reinvesting the earnings – think of it like using garden compost as fertiliser. The magic of compounding allows investors to generate wealth over time and requires just two things: Reinvestment of Earnings and Time. Your future self will really be in your debt (pardon the pun) for getting this plan started.
5. Establish a Budget
Once you’re bringing home the bacon, you’ll have to figure out how to slice it up. Without a budget, you risk overspending on discretionary items and undersaving for important big-ticket purchases. It’s easy to make a budget, and there are many fruitful strategies to choose from. Before you pick a budgeting plan, take note of the basics, including your monthly income, expenses, and financial goals. Once you’ve got a budget set, keep at least one eye (preferably two) on your spending to make sure you’re sticking to it. As we like to say here at Metis Ireland, #StickwiththePlan.
I would urge all of my peers to consider these strategies now. It’s a lot simpler than you might think to put in place – and you can still go on that big night out without feeling guilty about spending your money!
Eoin O’Brien is a Client Services Executive at Metis Ireland. Eoin helps our clients in both our Limerick and Dublin offices and regularly travels to both locations. You can contact Eoin by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow Eoin on Twitter @EoinMetis
Metis Ireland Financial Planning Ltd t/a Metis Ireland is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.
All content provided in these blog posts is intended for information purposes only and should not be interpreted as financial advice. You should always engage the services of a fully qualified financial adviser before entering any financial contract. Metis Ireland Financial Planning Ltd t/a Metis Ireland will not be held responsible for any actions taken as a result of reading these blog posts.