This year is the year of getting it together. Managing your money is the first step. This time, I’m talking about really managing it, not just going over the basics and doing your duty, but knowing that money is all about psychology. If you’re wondering how to manage money in your 20s and beyond, you need to know this: How you handle your finances is all about your personal mindset. Are you frugal or are you a spender? It’s time to stop kidding yourself that you’ll treat your money differently every time a paycheck comes through, if you’re hardwired to spend – you’re gonna spend.
So if you want to manage your money properly, you need to know this one very important thing. Mindset matters just as much as math.
1. Learn the golden rule of money
The golden rule of managing your money is simple. Take it out of your hands if you want to save it. Just treat your money this way, if you have it, you will spend it. Even if that might not be true. I saved up for my first house by taking the temptation to spend away. I did this by using other accounts to spread my pay check out and making sure I put a set amount every month into a joint account.
2. Make money with money
Yes, you know by now about the benefits of investing. Building an investment portfolio takes a certain amount of research or a company you trust who will manage yours for you. Most advice about building a portfolio leans on buying ETFs (exchange-traded funds) and holding onto them. You can walk into an investment company and ask for help, but one of the best things to do is get to the nitty gritty of investments and actually figure out what it all means, that way even if you do choose to have someone manage your portfolio you still know exactly what they’re doing and the kind of risks you want to take. Successful investing requires patience.
3. Get under the skin of your budget
To manage your money properly, you need to get to grips with what’s coming in and going out. Meaning you need to check up on it at least once a week. Of course, you can use tools like Mint to keep track of everything and Daily Budget to stay within the limits you set yourself every day, but until you sit down and look at the figures, you won’t be sure of what you can cut back on. If you hate the thought of sitting down with a spreadsheet, I’d recommend Mint. You can sign up for free and keep track of almost everything coming and going.
4. Follow a rule
Financial expert Ramit Sethi (of I Will Teach You To Be Rich fame) swears by dividing your money in the following way. Use 50% of your income for bills and recurring costs, 10% for investments, 5% for savings and the rest you can use for guilt-free spending. Realistically you won’t be able to stay strict with your money if you can never enjoy spending it. You work hard so you deserve it. You can adjust these amounts as it goes and follow the 50/20/30 rule if you prefer to keep it simple.
Photographed by Career Girl Daily at LA Suite West. Makeup by Jane Pirosko.
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