Young adults don’t tend to be very financially savvy. They typically become better at managing their money as they get older after making mistakes in their youth. Unfortunately, some of these mistakes can haunt them for years to come.
Your 30s will be much more comfortable if you manage your money wisely in your 20s. Here are some common financial mistakes that you should avoid.
Failing to purchase health insurance
Despite the fact that the Affordable Care Act allows people under the age of 26 to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans, the uninsured rate is still very high. Over 30% more young adults lack health insurance than their older peers.
This can be a big mistake, because nearly 20% of young adults have chronic health problems, such as cancer or diabetes. If you don’t get screened in treated in your 20s, you will face steeper healthcare bills in the coming decades.
Failing to keep credit card debt in check
Credit card debt is a terrifying problem for many Americans. The average household has a credit card debt of $5,700. Among the 38.1% of Americans that have outstanding credit card bills, the average debt is estimated to be about $16,048.
Credit card debt can be accumulated at any stage of life. However, younger people tend to make credit card mistakes more often. If they don’t pay their credit card debt down in their 20s, that balance can grow exponentially in their 30s. If you don’t take care of your $2,000 credit card balance when you are 22, you may be facing the possibility of bankruptcy in your 30s when it is over $20,000.
Neglecting to refinance student loans
Student loans are a serious problem for many students. They become worse problem for students that focus too much on their overall balance and not enough on their interest-rate.
If you have taken out private student loans with high interest rates, you should consider refinancing them. You should also look into getting loans with fixed interest rates, because variable rates could become much more expensive if the Federal Reserve raises rates higher in the future.
Getting a college degree that doesn’t lead to a job
This is one of the biggest mistakes that millennials make. They have been hoodwinked into believing that any college degree will guarantee a decent job paying over $60,000 a year. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
It is particularly difficult for people that graduate with liberal arts degrees. The underemployment rate for people with these degrees is nearly 50%. You don’t want to try paying off a $30,000 loan with a $9 an hour job as a barista.
Waiting to save for retirement
Many young adults don’t understand the importance of saving for retirement. This is a shame, because they are in a great position to build a massive retirement fund by the time they are ready to leave the workforce. Make sure you understand the value of compounded rates of return. If you invest money every year, you will have several times as much if you start at 20 then if you waited until 30.
It is a good idea to max out your Roth IRA every year. You can contribute up to $5500. You should also find out if your employer has a matching program.