Financial Insight You Wish You Had at Age 20



An old adage attests to the clarity of hindsight. According to the saying, everyone has perfect vision when looking back in time, from today’s perspective. The premise of the axiom is that knowing what you know today, how could you fail to make better decisions, when given another run at the past? The maxim assumes you’ve accumulated some wisdom in the interim, enabling you to find solutions you couldn’t in the past, and to orchestrate improved outcomes, using the knowledge gained since you originally failed.

While speculating about different scenarios can be fun, the real lesson of the proverb is that you can’t go back in time, no matter how much you wish you could return to an earlier time to undo your most foolish moves. In the spirit of learning from others mistakes, a recent Forbes article explored a number of financial tips the author wishes he could share with his inexperienced 20-year-old self.

Stay Informed

People’s finances falter for various reasons, many beyond their control. With these forces already working against you, it’s important to put your best foot forward protecting and preserving your financial security. There’s no better way to fortify yourself against financial distress than learning about personal finance and staying informed about economics – particularly finance policy and trends that directly impact your household.

Adopting financial awareness at a young age can help keep you focused and demystify personal financial matters. On the other hand, forging ahead without basic understanding can leave you unprepared to act, causing financial paralysis, which can undermine your financial health.
Tax, investing, and other aspects of UK family financial management are complex affairs, so sorting out priorities and protecting cash flow can be intimidating. Learning finance principles at a young age and staying informed as you grow older not only provides useful tools for managing money, but the process also builds confidence, so you’re always prepared to tackle unfamiliar challenges.

Make a Habit of Saving

Young people in the UK are saddled with high housing costs and other burdensome expenses, so saving money isn’t always a top priority. When putting by cash at a young age, the act of saving may be more important than the actual sum you stack up. Finding ways to save with regularity is an exercise in discipline, which you can carry forward to other aspects of your financial life.

Even if it’s only a few pounds from each paycheck, saving in your 20’s builds a saving habit that will help you save more money and make prudent investments at every stage of your financial life.

Avoid School Debt

Debt is an expected and reasonable piece of family finances, so loans and revolving credit serve vital functions in countless UK households. From a wide selection of short-term funding options, without extensive credit checks, to revolving credit accounts offered by major credit card companies, most adults count on various types of credit to manage monthly finance and fund major purchases.

With lots of opportunities to add debt later in life, minimising student loan debt can put you in a better position later on, for reaching your other personal financial goals, such as buying a house or investing in your own business.

Effectively Manage Fundamental Expenses

Similar to developing good saving habits and follow-through staying informed, balanced spending is a central feature of effective personal financial management. Learning to keep core expenses low gives you the flexibility you need at a young age. Adding fixed expenses and monthly payment obligations limits your freedom, so you should wait until later in life to take-on financial responsibilities that tie you down.

If you could go back in time to teach a few lessons to your younger self, finance tips might be among the pearls of wisdom passed-on to your 20-year-old likeness. Though time in your 20’s may have passed, these recently shared financial tips are available to pave the way for the next generation of household money managers.

Paul graduated in 2001 with a degree in Finance. Since then he has gone on to work for several of the UK's most well-known financial institutions.

An avid blogger and a huge football fan, Paul is here to guide you through the ins and outs of personal finance and perhaps save you some money in the process!

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