At 21, you’re a financial adult. But chances are you still don’t know what you don’t know.
We asked personal finance experts and financial planners what newly minted adults need to know about money. Their bottom line: Be sure your balance sheet includes some joy, too.
How to think about money
A job you love saves money. How you earn a living affects how you spend, says Kathy Kristof, a longtime financial journalist and editor of SideHusl.com, a website that evaluates gig opportunities. If you hate your job, you’re likely to spend more to distract yourself from all you put up with at work.
Spend on joy. Diane Harris, editorial director of Considerable, a financial and lifestyle site launching later this summer, and former editor-in-chief at Money, says she wishes she had understood at 21 that spending on experiences and people you love brings more joy than accumulating stuff. Budget for happiness.
Buy freedom. Delaying gratification is hard. But savings give you the means to act when you need to, says Krista Smith, a fee-only certified financial planner in Atlanta. “Your savings are often what saves you when you finally get the courage to leave a bad relationship and need to pay a security deposit on a new apartment, when you bust a tire on the highway, or when a family member’s health is failing and you need a plane ticket NOW.”