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6 Financial Tips for Young Adults

13 February 2017 by National Bank
Financial tips for young adults

Although student debt can be significant, and the desire to take advantage of one's youth can lead to some reckless spending, the beginning of adulthood is a critical period to ensure a prosperous future for yourself. If you act wisely early on, you can reap a lot later on. Here is our advice.

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1. Set Your Financial Goals

The best way to maintain healthy finances is to set your short- and middle-term goals. This allows you to choose how to achieve them, for example, by saving a small amount every week. This way, if you plan on buying a first home with your better half, and you start saving $50 a week now and continue during 5 years, it will be easier than trying to find thousands of dollars at once. On the short term, you could also use this same strategy, for example, to take a trip to Europe next summer.

2. A Budget is an Excellent Tool

Managing your personal finances is a genuine challenge, especially when you suddenly have to spend money on all kinds of things you hadn't planned to buy. To avoid falling into debt, a budget remains your biggest ally and, contrary to popular belief, it need not be constraining. It should reflect your needs and help you easily keep track of your income and expenses. Having a balanced budget can help you save money to achieve your financial goals.

3. Anticipating Expenses in Adult Life

Though you may have made a detailed budget, unexpected expenses often crop up. To get a good idea of the expenses involved in an event such as moving into your first apartment, for example, a good strategy is to ask someone who has already gone through this, or your financial adviser, what to expect. Another winning strategy is to set up a contingency fund for unexpected expenses, since they always crop up!

4. Credit Report: Managing Your Financial Reputation

A credit report is a credit history, that is, a person's capacity to pay off their debt. In other words, a credit report is a score used to evaluate a person's reliability when money is lent to them. If you diligently pay off your debt, financial institutions will not hesitate to lend you more money in the future because they will be reassured as to your ability to pay them back. On the contrary, if you skip payments and interest builds up, they will be mistrustful and won't want to lend you all the money you need to achieve your plans.

5. Debt Management: Do Not Overestimate Yourself

The golden rule to not get stuck in debt is to avoid spending more than you can afford. You must rely on your spending capacity, which is determined by way of a budget. Spending more than you earn only further delays the repayment issue, which worsens due to accrued interest.

6. Investing in Your Education

There are several reasons why investing in your education is a wise investment. The $5,000 invested in completing a Master's degree or a specialized course will quickly become profitable as they increase your value as an employee. Having high-demand skills means you will earn a better salary and therefore you pay yourself back!

It all comes down to this: by living according to your means today, when you still don't have any major financial responsibilities (a child, a mortgage, your start-up business loan to repay), you are building good habits that will ensure your long-term financial health!

For other tips and advice to better manage your personal finances, sign up for the National Bank newsletter .

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