In the first part of 2015 I reached a milestone in that I am closer to age 50 than I am to age 20 (yes I am a finance geek). As I reflected on this it got me thinking about what tips I would give to my younger self. So here it goes, my top 4 money goals to achieve before age 40.
Goal 1 – Get your cash flow in order and limit use of credit cards
When I first started working I was paid weekly via cash in an envelope from the office manager of the small business I was working in. When I was at University I also ‘signed up’ for my first ever credit card with a $500 limit.
Time and money has changed and we often don’t even really touch the stuff anymore but over the years I have seen credit cards get many of my clients into trouble. I would tell my younger self to not sign up for that credit card (it doesn’t help your credit rating) and to get a solid cash flow foundation in place from day 1 of working so I could have saved more early on.
Check out the great resources online at www.moneysmart.gov.au, which includes some smart phone budget tracking apps.
Goal 2 – Take notice of Your Superannuation
One of the great benefits of working in Australia is our retirement savings. If you were given a 9.5% pay rise today you would most likely plan to do something with that money. Superannuation is a minimum of 9.5% of your salary being paid forward to help fund your retirement.
When your annual statement arrives, check it! Know what fund you are in and what fees you are paying. If you have more than one fund get advice to consolidate them into one which can save you in fees and as the adverts say “make a lifetime of a difference’ and once you are 40 you are closer to age 60 (the time you can access your super) then you are to age 20!
Goal 3 – Get some Investments and educate yourself about money
Money at the end of the day is a means to an end. It provides option and opportunity, so if you can get into the property or share markets at a young age over that time you will build up more equity and have more option and more opportunity. In my view you can start buying shares with as little as $500. When I first started working I setup a share portfolio, as I didn’t have enough to buy a property. This then gave me a step up to purchase, my first property and build up equity between the property and shares that gave me the opportunity to setup my own business (which I would have told my younger self to do much sooner). Investing wont always be easy but if you educate yourself and get empowered it will give you flexibility to explore other options and opportunities in life.
Goal 4 – Check your Insurances and have a Plan B
Hopefully your life is uneventful when it comes to health issues or being unable to work for a long period of time. Insurances can provide that protection for you and the younger you are the cheaper the premium and less potential for health concerns which insurance companies sometimes do no provide protection for. You can also level the premium the younger you are and get significant savings over a 10-year period. If you have insurances within superannuation this can also be a great way to structure things however if you are like me and 14 and 9 months when you started working check the super policy and what insurance cover you have. This may not be required until you are working full time and can eat away your superannuation savings very quickly.
If you need assistance in exploring these further talk to a professional but most importantly start your journey to being free around your money and creating wealth with understanding.
Scott Malcolm (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Director of Money Mechanics (ph: 1300 772 643) a fee for service advice firm who are authorised to provide financial advice through PATRON Financial Advice AFSL 307379.
The information provided on this article is of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information you should consider its appropriateness having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.