If you spend a lot of time pondering money-related questions and more time worrying about the answers, as an adult living in a Capitalist world, you need to think about securing financial stability — especially without the promise of generational wealth.
One of the fundamentals of being stable is realizing that the future is not secure. You need to look at your finances and start saving money — even if it looks impossible.
There is no better time to be fiscally responsible than right now. How much you save and where you place your savings depends on your income and long-term financial goals.
Here is a list of five questions on savings answered:
1. When should you start saving money?
The most straightforward answer is from your teens or at least from your very first paycheck. The key is to get started, whether it's $20 or $200, and then stick to it.
Irrespective of whether you are saving towards an emergency fund or a retirement fund, the earlier you start, the better off you will be in the future. Make it a practice to put away a percentage of your earnings monthly.
2. How much should you save?
How much you choose to save depends on several factors, including your age, liquidity and disposable income. If you can afford it, 10% of your earnings is a good starting place. If you can't, pick a number and stick with it.
To be successful at saving money, you need to be able to budget. By tracking your income and spending patterns, as well as your needs and wants, you will learn where you need to cut back. It takes planning and prioritizing.
3. What type of savings account do you need?
Regular savings accounts that earn you interest can be useful for emergencies. Such an account usually has no fees or minimum balances.
Choose a high-yield savings account if you are saving for a significant expense like your wedding, or a big purchase, like a house. It will offer higher interest rates, yet will also come with more restrictions like minimum balances or deposit amounts.
4. What is the difference between saving and investing?
High-yield savings accounts can earn interest, but investments will afford you the best returns. Try investing excess savings, once you have accumulated your emergency funds.
Investments generally earn more than the interest rate on a savings account. If you can afford to take a risk and wait for the returns, try investing in the stock market.
5. How do you build credit, and why do you need it?
The easiest way to build credit is to have a credit card. Pay the full balance every month to maintain good credit. Paying the minimum amount will result in you spending more over time.
Your credit score tells lenders, such as banks, how trustworthy you are in paying back your debts. If you miss a payment or do not pay on time, it will reflect on your credit score.
When it is all said and done, learning the language of money is the only way to get forward in this cruel and unforgiving world. Go forth and prosper, fam.