How to start investing in your 20s and 30s

If you’ve finished college or university and have started in your career and are looking at buying your first home (or maybe even starting a family) then this blog post is for you! You may think that there’s no need to start investing your money when you’re in your 20s and 30s – I mean, surely you need that money for other things? But, in some ways, this age is the freest you’ll ever be because you’re not studying and you may not have commitments like children, pets, a mortgage or elderly relatives yet.

While you’re probably not awash with spare cash, you’ll have some to play around with, so now is the best time to start an investment plan – however modest – that’ll be with you for the rest of your life. The best thing about starting young is that whatever money you squirrel away will be there, working for you for at least the next four decades – and that’s a lot of interest hurrah!

START BY PAYING YOUR DEBTS

Interest is great – it makes your money grow, right? Unfortunately, this is why lenders gonna lend! Whether it’s your student loans or an overdraft, the quicker you pay it back, the less interest you’ll pay. While this isn’t investing in the usual sense, if you manage to pay off a debt early, you’ll have kept some of that potential interest all to yourself, phew! There’s no point having a savings account that’s earning you interest while you still have debts that are costing you interest.

LEARN TO SEE MONEY AS A TOOL

It’s not just what you collect after a month’s hard labour so that you can blow it all on rent, shopping and cocktails. It’s a resource that you can leverage to improve your lifestyle, security and prospects beyond another espresso Martini. Whether you deposit a regular amount in an ISA or whether you take advantage of one of the sales at Golden Eagle Coin once a year, you’re making your money work a little harder for you.

DON’T BE DISCOURAGED IF YOU HAVE TO START OFF SMALL

If you can only afford to save 5% or even less of your pay packet in your twenties, don’t worry. That money is secure and it’ll be beavering away, with the help of compound interest, for another 40-50 years. Just save what you can – every single pound makes a difference. Just make sure that you look for the right kind of savings account that offers compound interest to really benefit from saving for a long period. If you’re saving a deposit for a house and you want to achieve it while you’re still in your 30s, try to save as much as possible in a Help To Buy ISA for a just couple of years to boost your savings pot considerably.

BUT DON’T STAY SMALL

Once you’re in your thirties you should aim to save 10% of your monthly salary and by the time you’re in your forties, double this amount if you can. It’s quite likely that as you get further in your career you’ll be paid more and you might even get the occasional annual bonus! You should treat yourself with some of this, but you know what to do with the rest – save it! And don’t forget to read my blog post on money you might be owed and how you can add that to your savings pot.

MAKE SURE YOU INVEST IN YOURSELF AND YOUR SKILLS TOO

It’s not all about the money (although quite a bit of it is!) You’re also an amazing money-saving resource so it’s important to always look after yourself and try to improve yourself. Learn a new language or brush up the ones you already speak; take an advanced driving course, do a First Aid course and keep it refreshed year on year. There’s so much you can do with your time to make yourself and your life richer, more secure and happier so spend some of your money wisely by investing in yourself.

I hope these ideas have inspired you to start (or continue) investing, saving and growing your assets in the future – there really is no better time to begin! Let me know what methods you use to cut costs and save cash in the comments below, I’d love to learn more ideas!

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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