5 Steps to Building Financial Success as a Young Adult

Education | 08/03/23
A young girl using a calculator and laptop.

Your 20s are crucial to building a healthy financial future. By making responsible and sound decisions as a young adult, you have the opportunity to build a foundation of habits and practices that will last you a lifetime. Here are five things you can do in your 20s to set you up for a lifetime of financial success.

1. Avoid Credit Card Debt

While responsible credit card use can help build credit, irresponsible use can see you piling on mounds of debt that will burden you for years to come. When it comes to credit card use, restrain yourself to only swiping on necessary items like gas or groceries and paying it off timely. When it comes to “fun” spending, stick to cash or a debit card.

2. Build Your Credit

A good credit score has many advantages, such as lower interest rates on debt, and eligibility for credit cards with great reward programs. By building your credit now, you’ll be in a great position to leverage debt in the future. The first step in the process is to determine what your credit score is. You can do this by visiting annualcreditreport.com or if you’re an Ascend member, you can see your score on our digital banking platform or mobile app with our free credit monitoring tool. If you’ve got any existing debt, go ahead and pay it off as soon as possible. From here, you can steadily increase your credit score by paying your bills on time and making sure your credit spending doesn’t get out of hand. Using credit responsibly for a couple of years will give you a huge boost once you’re ready for major financial milestones like buying a car or a home.

3. Leverage Compound Interest

While retirement may be decades away, you want to begin saving for it now. The good news is, even small contributions can have a substantial impact over time, especially when you start saving early. Check out our 401(k) calculator to see just how far a little savings can go.

4. Start an Emergency Fund

You want to be prepared for things like unexpected medical bills, auto repairs and other unforeseen circumstances. Aim to make monthly contributions to an emergency fund. Keep your emergency money in an account that offers an attractive earnings rate, like a money market account

5. Create Financial Goals

Although you’re not expected to have your entire life planned out in your 20s, having a few simple goals can go a long way. Maybe you aspire to buy a house before turning 30 or retire by 55. Having a concrete goal in mind will help you manage your money more responsibly.

With these 5 tips, you’ll be well on your way to building a strong financial future. If you’d like more tips on how to take control of your financial future, check out our free courses on building better credit.

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