My Secure Advantage

As a young professional, how can I prepare for a solid financial future?

If you’re a young professional wanting to start off on the right foot financially, way to go! The fact that you’re assessing your money situation is a huge step towards success, and there are a few other steps you might consider.
By MSA Staff

If you’re a young professional wanting to start off on the right foot financially, way to go! The fact that you’re assessing your money situation is a huge step towards success, and there are a few other steps you might consider.

Set Goals
First ask yourself, what do you want to accomplish financially in 1-5 years? In your career? In life? If you set goals for the future, you are more likely to better manage your day-to-day spending in order to meet those goals. You could include short or long term goals, such as…

  • Paying off debt
  • Buying a house
  • Retiring comfortably (Who doesn’t want that?)

Keep in mind that MSA members have access to online calculators that can help them figure out how long it will take to pay off debt, what kind of house they can afford, how much they might need to fund their retirement, and more.

Plan for Goals
Once you set goals, figure out how you’re going to get there. If you say you want to retire with a million dollars but don’t figure out how you’ll actually make it happen, you’ll probably get to retirement and be very dissatisfied with your bank account. Consider creating an action plan with realistic steps. Here are some examples using the goals listed earlier:

  • If you want to pay off debt, research different debt management plans (e.g. debt stacking, credit counseling, or bankruptcy) to find the best plan for your situation.
  • If you want to buy a house, look at possible houses to get an idea of how much you will need to pay each month, and start setting aside money for a down payment.
  • If you want to plan for retirement, figure out what you want to do during retirement and how much it might cost.

Create a Spending Plan
Take a look at your income, then figure out your expenses. Meeting financial goals will largely depend upon how much money you can contribute to those goals. Money that you put towards savings are also important to incorporate into your spending plan. Having savings set aside can give you a better chance of overcoming financial challenges without compromising your goals when emergencies or unexpected expenses arise.

What could it look like?
Want a real-life example of putting those steps into practice? Say you’re 30 years old and have a good job. You want to make your financial future more secure, so you consider the steps above and proceed…

  • Set a Goal: You want to pay off your credit card debt of $5,000 by this time next year, so you can start putting money towards retirement savings instead.
  • Plan for the Goal: You figure out how much you will have to save each month in order to meet your goal. If your credit card debt is $5,000 with an interest rate of 10.99%, you would need to pay about $450 a month to pay off the debt within a year.
  • Create a Spending Plan: You track how much money is coming in and how much is going out. You learn how much you have left over after you meet necessary expenses (i.e. rent, car, food, insurance, et cetera) and where you might be able to adjust your spending to put more cash towards that debt. For example, you may see that you spend a whole lot of money eating out each week, so instead, you plan to make more meals at home and put the extra money towards the $5,000.

Taking action now could give you more incentive to keep your money habits in check as you make it more of a priority in your life. Unfortunately, many people spend and spend, and don’t think about their financial future until it looks pretty dismal. Following the steps above can help you get on top of your finances and go into the future with more confidence.

Want accountability and trustworthy guidance so you can further prepare for a strong financial future? Talk to your Money Coach. You can work with Money Coaches who are debt and credit specialists, budget specialists, mortgage and real estate specialists, retirement specialists, and even tax specialists. You can access a whole team of coaches who have the experience and skills to help you. Call 888-724-2326 to talk to your Money Coach.

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