It is never too late to start preparing for your financial future. Parents and educators have many things to teach young people, from how to behave in society to learning basic math in school. It can often be overlooked financial lessons or money rules to help a young person navigate a financial future.
It can sometimes be challenging if that parent or educator is not financially savvy. It is always okay to start preparing, and here are 14 money rules you should have been taught when you were younger.
1. Pay Yourself First
One of the most significant money rules for people is paying yourself first. That starts with automating money from your paycheck and going into various accounts. The money can go to a savings account, 401k, IRA, or some sort of account where you cannot touch it, allowing you to live on less.
Those bills should come after you pay yourself first. If you can learn to live on less and pay yourself first, your whole financial world will change.
2. Start Investing For Your Retirement Early
It is never too early to start investing for your retirement. That should be one thing people learn early on, but it is rarely taught. People think they are young and do not need to consider their financial futures yet. The earlier you start to invest, the longer that money has to create more through the power of compounding interest.
The earlier you start, the less you need to invest for your retirement, and you could even retire early if you hit enough money. So start investing early.
3. Spend Less Than You Earn
Spending less than you earn goes with paying yourself first, but it is a mindset and rule to help you in hard times and good times. If you can learn to spend less, you use those extra savings for big purchases like a home, investing in the market, and using it to save for retirement.
It also helps to break that paycheck-to-paycheck cycle that often keeps people down or gets them into trouble if they lose a job.
4. Learn How Credit Works
Credit is essential for people to learn as they gain financial knowledge. If you apply for a car loan or a house mortgage, credit determines how worthy you are of that loan. The interest rate can be a difference of 1-2%, which can be a lot of money going towards interest if you have poor credit.
5. Find A Way To Make Money While You Sleep
Warren Buffett often talks about finding ways to make money while you sleep. Most people know how to go to work and make money, but then that money is not making money while they sleep. So it is best to learn how to make money while you sleep.
That starts with investing. It can be doing a business, owning real estate, or investing in the stock market. Start today so you can sleep easily at night, knowing more money is coming in.
6. Automate Your Savings
Automating your savings is one of the best ways to have a significant financial future. Every month, money can come out of your paycheck and go straight into your savings account or an investment account. This helps with paying yourself first. Less thinking about things allows your savings and investment to grow faster. Automation helps to know have to think about these things.
7. Invest in Yourself
Investing in yourself should be a colossal money rule taught by all. It can mean buying books on different subjects to help with your job, education, or even creating a business. Anyway that you are investing in yourself can help your financial future.
8. Avoid High-Interest Debt
High-interest debt can ruin many people’s finances. It is best to avoid it. That means if you have a credit card, make sure to pay it off every month in order not to have high-interest debt repayments. It also means improving your credit so you can have lower interest rates on loans that you may use to buy a car or house.
9. Use the 20/4/10 Rule For Car Buying
Many people will not know the 20/4/10 rule for car buying, which is okay it is a money rule often not taught to many people. The 20/4/10 rule helps people to realize what they can afford and how much to spend on their vehicle. It states to put down 20% for your car, take four years to pay it off, and it only costs 10% of your monthly budget. If the vehicle costs more than 10% of your monthly budget, it could be a better use of your money.
10. Save 20% of Your Income For Retirement
Many people talk about saving 10% of their income for retirement, but more money is needed to get you to the finish line. At that low percentage of investing your money for retirement, it will take around 51 years to retire. So if you start at 22, you will finish at 73.
It is better to save 20% of your income for retirement. That means not leaving it in a savings account but investing it with your IRA or 401k into good index funds. It will take you around 37 years with average returns of the market.
11. Always Take the 401K Match
When someone offers you free money, do you say ‘No!’? No way, you take the free money. A 401K match is the same thing. A company offers you a match for putting money into your retirement account; it is a no-brainer to take the free money.
A match is a certain percentage they are willing to match for you by putting money into your account. It is a great incentive to bring employees into your business. It is hard to pass on free money.
12. Pay Off Credit Cards Each Month
Debt can be a crippling financial situation for many people, especially if it is high-interest debt. One way to ensure you are never in high-interest debt is to pay off your credit card at the end of the month. Paying the minimum payment will allow your amount to accumulate unwanted high interest, and then it will take a lot of work to pay it all down. Plus, your credit score will get hurt in the process.
13. Have Multiple Income Streams
It never hurts to have more sources of income. Most people rely on one source for their income. If a layoff or other circumstances happen where your primary source of income dries up, it is safe to think that there will be multiple sources of income to get you by. Always be prepared to have various income sources help in any emergency.
14. Have a Budget
Many people despise the word budget. They feel that is a restrictive word that puts restrictions on their money. Many wonder how their money disappears after a month, and they have nothing left over. Here is the thing, if you are not tracking where your money is going, then you will never know how much you overspending.
That is where budgeting can be a benefit. You can set an amount of money for specific items and spend where you want to spend the most. With less money at your disposal, you can cut unnecessary items. It also helps when paying yourself first.
Time To Start Changing Your Finances
Here are 14 money rules that should have been taught. These rules could have been prepared by a parent or even in school, but many people need to be taught how these things work if they are not taught about financial literacy. So use these rules to help you on your financial journey.
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I’m Steve. I’m an English Teacher, traveler, and an avid outdoorsman. If you’d like to comment, ask a question, or simply say hi, leave me a message here, on Twitter (@thefrugalexpat1). Many of my posts have been written to help those in their journey to financial independence. I am on my journey, and as I learn more I hope to share more. And as always, thanks for reading The Frugal Expat.