Certainly, there are traits that you should carry when it comes to your financial situation at any age, but as you progress into your career, you make (hopefully) more money, get a grasp on living expenses whether you decide to buy a home, get married, or have kids, it is good to re-evaluate your situation to ensure you are staying on top of your personal finance. As you take a look of where you currently stand, keep in mind a few smart money moves that can keep you on top of your game.
Check Your Retirement Statement
Once you started your career you probably contributed little in your work 401(k) account, or if you have yet to start one, that should be first priority tomorrow morning. If your company matches contributions you should at least contribute that amount as otherwise it would be free money left on the table. In addition to 401(k) there are also IRA accounts that you can open as to ensure that you gain the needed income to sustain you in the decades down the road when you hang it all up.
Boost Your Emergency Fund
An emergency fund out of college may only have consisted of a few hundred dollars if you are lucky, if any at all, so now it is time to boost that account to ensure that you have the available funds needed in case you have an unexpected charge or job loss to float you. Experts suggest between three and six months of monthly expenses, although some will argue that too much in there is wasted by not growing in a brokerage account.
Take Another Stab at a Budget
If you tried a budget once and it didn’t last long you are not alone, in fact did you know that two-thirds of American’s don’t even have a budget? That is not something to be proud of. In fact, if you can start allocating funds to certain necessary spending such as monthly bills, food, gas, saving, and some left for spending/fun, you can see where your money is going.
Track all Spending
If you find yourself having more go out instead of come in and carrying debt over to the next month or draw from your savings, you will need to take a look at what you are spending. A good way to track spending is to use one card and pull last month’s statement. See what was a necessary expense, what was spending money, and go over line by line and see what should probably have been avoided, add them up, and see how much you could have had leftover at the end of the month.
Pay Off and Stay Out of Debt
Right up there with the priority of saving money is staying out of debt. If you currently are in debt, set up a realistic payoff plan so you can be cleared of that and instead of wasting money on interest each month, you will free up more to save for your future.