Becoming financially successful and winning with your money can be accomplished with the right game plan and actions. Luckily, you don’t need a finance degree to be good with money. In this post, you’ll learn the 15 steps you can take to improve your financial situation in your 20’s, and how to become financially smart in your 20’s.
Are you looking to get into a better financial situation? Do you want to be able to make financially smart decisions? Would you like to save more money and learn about personal finances? Are you in debt and want to get out of debt?
This might be obvious to you, but the financial decisions you make in your 20’s can either help or hurt your financial future.
Unfortunately, there are people who, either through bad luck or bad decisions, do not have their financial house in order in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, and cannot live the life they want to live.
I believe that through intentional living and smart decision making, anyone can be successful.
It’s possible that these same people could be in better financial situations if they made different choices.
The thing is with personal finance, these choices are usually not life changing. You would be surprised if I told you an extra $50 a month in savings (not a lot of money each month) could lead to thousands later in life!
Becoming better with your finances, finding financial success, and winning with your money in your 20’scan build a great foundation for your future self.
In this post, I’m going to share with you 15 steps, and a number of great resources for learning personal finance, to help you become more confident when handling your finances and money.
Let’s get into this personal finance basics post!
15 Steps to Winning With Your Money in Your 20’s
Below are the 15 steps to win with your money which I will cover in this post. By following these steps, you can create a great financial foundation for your life early in adulthood.
After creating a great financial foundation, you can then start thinking about financial freedom.
This post however is all about the steps to take to create an incredibly solid financial foundation.
The 15 steps to becoming financially successful are:
- Start Thinking Positive Thoughts
- Cultivate an Abundance Mindset
- Decide to Live Intentionally
- Start Tracking Your Income and Expenses
- Learn More about Personal Finance
- Cut Expenses to Save More Money
- Get Out of Debt
- Focus on Exploding Your Income
- Understand Credit Scores
- Build an Emergency Fund
- Learn about Investing and Investment Accounts
- Explore House Hacking
- Start a Side Hustle
- Become Self Aware of What You Enjoy in Life
- Stay Consistent with Your Actions
Let’s dive into each of these steps for winning with money in greater detail.
1. Start Thinking Positive Thoughts
Our minds are incredibly powerful and can quite literally create its own reality.
Using positive thinking can manifest itself in building the financial situation you want.
Telling yourself you are good with money can lead to you becoming better with money.
You are what you say you are.
Saying, “I’m a negative person who is broke and will never be rich” is a reinforcing trap. Saying this sort of thing will result in you being a negative person who is broke and will never be rich.
Likewise, telling yourself, “I’m a positive person who can build wealth and improve my financial situation” will lead to improving your financial situation.
Using positive thinking can help guide you on your path to winning with money.
While mindset alone will not change your financial situation, by starting to think positive thoughts, you will start believing in yourself and change for the better.
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2. Cultivate an Abundance Mindset
Think about this for a second: there is so much money in the world, and to become a little bit wealthier – you just need to get a little bit of it.
In the world, there are trillions and trillions of units of wealth (dollars, whatever your country’s currency is, etc).
0.0000001% of 1 Trillion Dollars is $10,000.
Think about that, of all the money in the world, you only need to get 0.0000001% of it to get to 5 figures in savings.
Can you do this?
Getting into an abundance mindset will let you believe in yourself, and also realize that you can win while others win.
Creating value and doing what’s right in the world can lead to riches – you don’t need to steal or cut others down to make more money.
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3. Decide to Live Intentionally
Do you decide what will happen to you in your life, or do you let life decide what will happen to you?
Improving your financial situation involves intentional living and doing what you want with your time, money and efforts.
By setting goals, making a plan, and executing on that plan, you can build wealth, pay down debt and grow your savings.
To do this, you need to start living intentionally and practice proactive behavior.
Instead of letting life happen to you, you need to take action and lead a life of intention and action.
After making the decision to live with intention, a decision to care about your financial situation, then you can get onto learning about the basics of personal finances, come up with a financial plan, and start executing your plan.
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4. Start Tracking Your Income and Expenses
One of my favorite quotes is “What gets measured, gets managed”, by Peter Drucker.
The idea behind this quote is especially important in the world of personal finance.
If you don’t know where you are with your finances, how are you going to get to where you want to go?
Tracking your income and expenses is easily the most important step for improving your financial situation. Just knowing how much you are saving (or spending) each month will allow you to prioritize what you can cut back on, or what you should change regarding your spending habits.
At a minimum, you should track your income, expenses, savings rate, and net worth.
Once you know each of these numbers, you can then start making changes in your spending habits to start saving more, paying down debt, investing more, etc.
Looking at your bank statements is one place to start, but there are also a number of great softwares (or Excel) which you can use to track your personal finances.
5. Learn More about Personal Finance
After you’ve started tracking your numbers, now it’s time to start learning more about personal finance.
When I think about personal finance, I think of the following topic areas:
- Making Money
- Paying Down Debt
- Saving Money
These personal finance topic areas have some overlap, but a lot of the content is unique and specific to a certain goal and situation.
Learning about personal finance basics can be done through reading personal finance books, personal finance blogs, or personal finance podcasts.
You’ll have to figure out which medium of learning is best for you, but I can assure you, there are hundreds of great resources out there for you to explore.
For me, when I started on my personal finance journey, I read a lot of personal finance blogs. I also love reading books, so read a lot of different personal finance and investing books.
You might like podcasts, and luckily there are a ton of podcasts to help you learn the basics of personal finance!
Over time, you’ll become comfortable with different personal finance terms and concepts, and get on to becoming a personal finance expert.
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6. Cut Expenses to Save More Money
After starting to track your expenses and learning more about personal finance, now, it’s time to start building a solid financial foundation.
The best place to start, which will bring fast results for your financial situation, is to cut unnecessary expenses.
Even $100 a month can add up over time, and I’d be very surprised if you weren’t spending $100 on things you don’t necessarily need (I know I do even in months where I’m really good with my spending!).
The first place you should start is by examining the big three expenses: housing, transportation and food.
While it might not make sense to move, over time, you can consider downsizing or picking a slightly less nice apartment to save more money.
For transportation, buying a slightly used car vs. buying a new luxury car lead to massive savings over time.
For food, cooking your meals vs. going out can lead to great savings.
After examining these three expense categories, subscriptions and impulse purchases are next.
Over time, you can figure out which expenses are necessary, and which expenses are unnecessary. Through this process, you will then be able to save more money over time.
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7. Get Out of Debt
Being in debt is incredibly restricting and expensive.
Whether you have credit card debt, student loan debt, a mortgage, an auto loan, or a personal loan, getting out of debt should be a priority over time.
Being in debt sucks and is not a freeing feeling.
Getting out of debt can happen faster by paying more than the minimum payment each month, and over time, you can employ some different pay down strategies, refinance, or consolidate your debts to further decrease your payments.
At the end of the day, being completely debt free is the goal, and this will help you on your path to winning with money and becoming financially successful.
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8. Focus on Exploding Your Income
After you’ve gotten a handle on your expenses and debt, now, it’s time to focus on providing value in the world and exploding your income.
While you can get the fastest personal finance benefit from decreasing your expenses, there is unlimited upside when you look at the income side of the personal finance equation.
Growing your income can involve a number of things:
- Taking courses relevant to your work
- Changing jobs or industry
- Going back to school for a new degree
- Starting a side hustle
- Picking up a second shift or second job
At the end of the day though, you want to become more valuable in the industry you are interested in working in.
I work in the financial industry, and for me, to become successful in my role, I’ve had to:
- learn about different financial products and jargon
- get certain credentials and degrees
- work on my communication and big picture thinking
- and learn how to automate and make efficient processes with programming
This didn’t happen over night, but during the past 5 years, I’ve nearly doubled my salary by having this “look to add value” mindset.
You can do this too through your intentional actions and figuring how what makes sense in your current or prospective role.
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9. Understand Credit Scores
While the goal is to have no debt and to never have to be in debt, there are some times in your life where financing a certain purchase (houses could make sense here).
Understanding how credit scores work, and how you can increase your credit score, is a piece of personal finance which is easy to learn and improve upon.
There are five main factors that determine your credit score:
- Payment History (35%)
- Utilization (30%)
- Length Of Credit History (15%)
- New Credit (10%)
- Types Of Credit Used (10%).
By focusing on improving each of these categories, you can improve your credit score.
With a better credit score, you can get lower interest rates and better financing options – saving money on your interest expense if you decide to take on new debts.
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10. Build an Emergency Fund
Having funds set aside for emergencies is critical for being able to weather any unexpected expenses.
Saving up 3-6 months of expenses in a savings account, or having other liquid assets ready to go in times of need can be the difference between extreme stress and sleeping well at night.
Building an emergency fund is all about saving more money for an extended period of time until you are happy with your level of expenses saved up.
For me, I like having 6 months of expenses saved up, but you might like less or more. You’ll have to figure out what you are comfortable with for yourself!
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11. Learn about Investing and Investment Accounts
While it is great to save money in traditional bank accounts, these days, banks are paying pennies in interest.
Learning about investing, and looking for other ways to grow you money over time, can help you build wealth after establishing your solid financial foundation.
There are a number of different assets and ways to invest and grow your money. Some of these asset classes include:
- Real estate
- Precious Metals
- Small Businesses
By learning about the pros and cons of each of these asset classes, you can then make a decide on where to put your money to try to grow it for your financial future.
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12. Explore House Hacking
In your 20s and 30s, house hacking is one of the best ways to build wealth fast and get into the real estate investing game.
For me, house hacking was my best financial move to date, and over a 4 year span, I was able to make $15,000 to live.
That’s right I made money to live in my house – through buying a house and renting it out to friends, I was able to cover my mortgage and make some money on top of the mortgage.
As I mentioned above, in step 6, cutting housing expenses can have a huge impact on your financial situation, and with house hacking, you can cut your housing expenses in a huge way.
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13. Start a Side Hustle
Starting a side hustle can be incredibly rewarding, and can also be lucrative.
While side hustling is not for everyone, for me, it has definitely been a great way to gain exposure to new topics of interest, learn new skills, and grow as a person.
Over time too, your side hustle might be able to become your full time hustle!
Starting a side hustle can be as easy as mowing your neighbor’s lawn, signing up to do bookkeeping for a local small business, or refereeing a local sports league.
A side hustle could also be starting a business, a blog, or something with potential to scale!
Depending on what you want your life to look like, a side hustle might be for you, and if it is, then aligning your side hustle with your goals and dreams will lead to the best outcome.
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14. Become Self Aware of What You Enjoy in Life
When you start diving into personal finance, learning the basics of personal finance, and becoming a personal finance geek, you will become obsessed with money.
Over time though, you might realize that life isn’t about money, and really, money doesn’t really matter unless you are able to use that money to live an enjoyable life.
The whole point of financial success and winning with money is so that you can live your dream life and do what you want with your time!
Becoming self-aware of what you like to do, understanding there should be a balance between work and play, and understanding money isn’t everything will lead to a successful life.
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15. Stay Consistent with Your Actions
Doing the right action once, and never again will not lead to success in life.
Doing the right action over and over, and repeating this process for months and years, WILL lead to success.
Personal finance success isn’t hard, but the application of consistent actions can be tough to do.
Becoming successful financially can happen if you stick with it, keep learning over time, find balance in your budget and expenses, and look to grow your income over time.
Having this mindset of consistency and action, and having patience will lead to winning with your money and becoming a financial success.
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Learn The Basics of Personal Finance and Start Winning With Money!
Hopefully this article provides you with a number of resources and ideas for getting on the right path for personal finance success.
What I’ve provided above are a lot of the basics of personal finance. My hope is you will go back now and click into some of the other articles to get more information on each of these topics.
While your financial situation will more likely not improve overnight, little by little, you can improve your financial situation and win with money.
If you have questions, please leave a comment below! Thanks for reading!