Young adults need to develop financial plans

Published 8:20 am Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Young adults have a great deal to gain by learning about money management—as well as a lot to lose by making uninformed financial decisions. If you are just starting out in the business world, beginning plans for a family, or a high school or college student, this message applies to you.

Financial decisions you make today have a significant impact on your future lifestyle. But, fortunately, you do not have to be a financial expert to plan for the future.

The most important action you can take is to develop a personal financial plan that will lead to increased savings and reduced expenditures. You can start by tracking what you earn and how much of it you spend.

The next step is a critical review of your expenditures for non-essential items—such as eating out at restaurants and various types of entertainment—with an eye toward reducing them as much as possible. By investing or saving the amount spent on these items, you can put money to work for your financial future.

As you undertake this action, you should open a savings account and “pay yourself first” by placing a set percentage of your income—preferably by arranging for your employer to automatically deposit the funds—into the account every pay period.

You should also develop an emergency account to pay for unforeseen expenses. When fully funded, this should equal six months of your income.

Another technique you can employ is to limit the amount of cash you keep in your wallet or purse and in your checking account. This makes it less likely you will buy unnecessary items. At the same time, take a credit card with you only when you plan to use it.

Finally, you should protect against financial loss by having adequate insurance coverage and reviewing it at least annually.

Put these ideas into practice in 2011 to ensure your future financial security.

Wayne Curtis, Ph.D., is on the board of directors of First United Security Bank. He may be reached by email at