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How Do I Even Start Saving Money?

Save your money. You’re going to need twice as much money in your old age as you think. M. Caine

I had the best conversation not all that long ago with a young woman who was about to graduate with a Master’s degree! Here’s what she said, “I know I should be thinking about getting something set up for retirement but how do I even set it up when I can’t think beyond my student loan payments?” It is hard to think about. Those student loan payments are a killer and worse now than ever before. To that mix comes the pressure of finding a ‘real’ job, being in or starting a relationship with the inevitable question that most young people get asked, “so, is this serious?” (the equivalent question when we were 12 being, “so, how was school today?”) juggling social time, gym time, learning how to do any number of tasks. That’s a lot of pressure!

Let’s take it one step at a time and go to an expert on the art of saving, Warren Buffett. Mr. Buffett believes that one’s first priority is to save money. What he is saying is that you first pay yourself and then pay everyone else. Nice idea. Unless you have a student loan or two. I’d tweet Mr. Buffett’s suggestion to say that you pay your student loan, then yourself, then your other responsibilities.

Next I’m going to tell you to use that amazing skill you have ingrained in you if you’re under 30; go to the web and seek out legit help. Google your questions about financial matters and use trusted sources. Kiplingers, Forbes, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine are all great, reputable sources for learning. I’m going to suggest, not so calmly, that you stay away from “makemoneynow” or some other clearly not so cool site for information. There are some good books out there including “Managing Your Money For Dummies.” While the titles of the “Dummies” series is awful it is also really great and the authors they pick know their stuff.

Finally I’m going to tell you to live within your means. I know it’s tempting to take out credit and go out, have fun. But I promise, it won’t be fun when you’re working 2 jobs to pay back that debt because that day will come. Is this hard? Well, yes, as a matter of fact it is. There were lots of days when I was in my 20’s when I wanted to take that trip or just go out and buy what I thought I needed but honestly? Paying off the student loan was an amazing feeling and far better than any new, shiny object could be.

You can so do this and I wish you the best as you embark on your journey

Best for your week!

~ Lisa

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