For young singles with a reasonably good income, life is full of possibilities. There is a lifetime ahead with many choices and opportunities along the way and plenty of time to recover from any mistakes made. However, choice can create uncertainty and confusion. It can be very hard to set goals when there are so many possible opportunities and unknowns. A financial plan is a set of strategies that help you achieve goals and without goals, it is hard to plan.
Rather than attempting to plan when there is so much uncertainty, it is better to focus on getting the fundamentals right so that when your goals become clearer, you are in a great position to move forward.
Know where your money goes. Your aim should be for your outgoings to be less than your income. Set up a budget in four categories – savings, your financial commitments (rent, insurance etc), your living costs (food, phone etc) and your fun money.
Set up an emergency fund. The golden rule of personal finance is ‘always pay yourself first’. Set up an automatic transfer so that every time you get paid, money goes into your savings account – preferably at another bank so it is harder to access!
Stay out of debt. Use your emergency fund for unexpected expenses, not your credit card. Save up for what you want to spend money on. It’s easier to save if you have a clear idea of what you are saving for.
Protect your wealth. Get some basic insurance cover for your personal belongings and to cover health costs or loss of income.
Learn how to invest. Get to understand your KiwiSaver as a way of learning about investment so when the day comes that you have a lot of money you will know what to do!