You know the saying, “Life is a marathon, not a sprint”? Well, it’s actually a good money mantra too.
Translation: All too often, we race through the nitty-gritty details of our finances and neglect to focus on crucial to-dos in the process — like saving for retirement long before those golden years approach.
But if you adopt a marathon approach to money, it can allow you to take a more holistic look at your overall financial picture to see how decisions that you make in your 20s and 30s can impact your 40s, 50s, and beyond.
Of course, no matter how old you are, financial health usually boils down to the same three basic goals: paying off credit card debt, growing your emergency fund, and saving for retirement. But the way you approach these tasks — and other money priorities — may change as you age.
That’s why we tapped Natalie Taylor, a CFP® with LearnVest Planning Services, to help make it simpler for you to begin taking more of a marathon tact with your finances by highlighting three of the top money to-dos she believes should be on everyone’s radar in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s.
Three of the top money to-dos for your 20s
This is the time when you should be laying the groundwork for a bright financial future, Taylor says. One of the best ways to start? Consider creating a budget and tracking your expenses — then test it out for several months to make sure it’s realistic for you, adjusting it as need be. “This seems like a basic step, but a lot of people miss it,” Taylor adds.
The reality is that your finances are likely a lot simpler now than they will be in the future, when you may be juggling priorities like saving for a down payment on a house while also starting a family. So this is why your 20s are an ideal time to establish good money habits — like getting that emergency fund going — that can help carry you through the next decades.