May 25, 2023

Common Money Mistakes by Young Professionals

By: Patrick Nalepa

As you enter the workforce and start to earn a regular income, it’s easy to get carried away with newfound financial freedom. However, this can often lead to costly money mistakes that can have long-lasting consequences. 

Here are some common money mistakes that young professionals often commit.

Overspending and Living Beyond Means

One of the most common money mistakes is overspending and living beyond your means. With a newfound income, it’s tempting to indulge in luxury purchases or expensive nights out. However, this can quickly lead to accumulating debt and financial stress. It’s important to create a budget and stick to it, limiting your expenses to what you can afford. Try sticking to happy hour prices instead of the large price tags that come from a Friday or Saturday night out.

Failing to Build an Emergency Fund

Many overlook the importance of building an emergency fund. Unexpected expenses such as car repairs, medical bills, or job loss can quickly drain a bank account, leaving you in a precarious financial situation. It’s recommended to have at least 3-6 months’ worth of living expenses saved in an emergency fund to provide a cushion during tough times. If you work in a volatile industry such as politics, I would certainly suggest having closer to 6 months’ worth of expenses as your emergency fund.

Not Investing in Retirement 

Retirement may seem far off, but it’s important to start investing early to take advantage of compound interest. Failing to invest in retirement can result in having to work much longer than expected or struggling to make ends meet in later years. Start off by at least contributing up to your employer’s match into your retirement plan at work. Don’t give up that free money!

Ignoring Debt Repayment

Student loans, credit card debt, and other loans can accumulate quickly, and ignoring debt repayment can lead to long-term financial struggles. It’s important to prioritize debt repayment and pay off high-interest debt as soon as possible to avoid accumulating interest and penalties.

Failing to Protect Your Assets 

Many may overlook the importance of protecting their assets, such as their income, health, and property. It’s essential to have insurance coverage to protect against unexpected events such as illness, disability, or property damage.

Impulsive Investing

You may be tempted to jump on investment opportunities without fully understanding the risks involved. It’s important to research and understand investment options before committing any money to them. Don’t get fooled by meme stocks!

Not Negotiating Salaries 

Many may be hesitant to negotiate their starting salary but failing to do so can result in leaving money on the table. It’s important to research industry standards and come prepared to negotiate a fair salary. When you are right out of school this can be especially intimidating but know your worth and what you bring to the table and have respectful confidence throughout the negotiation process. Your employer will respect you more for it.

We all need to be mindful of our finances and avoid common money mistakes that can have long-term consequences. By being proactive and careful with your finances, you can set yourself up for a secure financial future. If you have any questions about the above or about your unique circumstances, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected]!