Landing your first job is the first step to reaching your financial goals. It is important to find a balance between your income and expenses early on in your career. Building specific spending habits now will positively impact you for years to come.
- Save for Your Future
- Better Your Credit Score
- Live Within Your Means
Save for Your Future
Create a budget and stick to it. If you don’t already have savings built up, continue to live as you did before you got your first professional job and larger paycheck, until you have more money saved. Over time you can increase your spending, but do this gradually and only once you have an emergency fund in place. A general estimate for how much you should have in Savings is 3-6 months’ worth of living expenses but any money saved is better than none. If you’re new to saving, set a smaller goal such as $500 or $1000. By saving early, your interest will compound over time, so your money will grow faster.
If you haven’t already created a financial plan, we have a Financial Counselor available to help you build your plan, set goals, and make meaningful progress
Additionally, don’t forget about your retirement savings! Although retirement may feel far away, it is in your best interest to make a savings plan now. If your employer matches contributions to your retirement plan, invest at least enough to get the full match. This is essentially free money, and you don’t want to leave free money on the table. If you are looking for guidance in developing a retirement strategy, make an appointment with a Cetera Financial Networks Advisor, located at MEFCU.
Improve Your Credit Score
Ideally, you already have great credit; a healthy credit score is considered a 700 or better and of course the higher the score the better. If you aren’t where you’d like to be, there are a few different ways to improve your credit score:
- Make payments on-time
- Have a balanced mix of credit accounts
- Keep your credit card balance at 25% of the limit, or less
- Have your accounts for a longer length of time
Live Within Your Means
At times it may be easy to get carried away with your spending, especially with credit cards. If you aren’t able to pay off your card’s balance each month, you are spending more than you can afford. Keep in mind that if you are trying to pay off debt, the best way to succeed is by having no new debt. Ensure you are staying true to this by only spending what you can afford.