The Money Basics You Need to Know When You Start Your Career

Stash is investing, simplified. Made for beginners, their app simplifies saving, investing, and retirement to help individuals afford life now and in the future. Stash also provides user-friendly education and personalized guidance so you can learn how to be a confident, smart investor. Sign up today, and get a $5 bonus to start investing with the code findspark; stashinvest.com/start-investing/findspark

 

You’ve got your resume. You’ve got your goals. Now all you need is a financial plan to get you started on your way to financial awesomeness.

When it comes to setting up a plan, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But really, all you need are steps to follow and a little bit of discipline. A little planning when you’re starting out can create a great financial template for you to build and expand upon.

Here’s a quick-start guide on how to manage your money when you’re just starting out (even if you don’t have a lot of it yet).

Setting a budget.

money

Sit down and think about your fixed expenses: These include rent, food, car payments, student loans, and other regular bills. You need to make sure you have enough put aside each month for these costs. Tally these up, and this is the amount of money that you need to make sure you’ve got enough put aside every month to make sure that you’ve got your basics covered.

If you’ve got $500 left over for the month, think about where you want to allocate these funds. Maybe $100 goes into a Rainy Day fund, $100 goes into your investment accounts (we’ll talk more about those later), and the rest goes toward clothing, going out with friends, or saving for a vacation.

Something to think about: Putting more money than your minimum balance toward your credit card debt is always a great idea. Paying off your credit card debt early isn’t the most exciting thing, but you’ll be doing some serious celebrating by getting rid of those high-interest payments early and getting your credit back on track.

  • Learn the difference between saving and investing here.

 Start investing with what you’ve got.

Think you need a lot of money to open an investment account? Great news, you don’t! You can start taking advantage of the wonders of compounding just by putting small amount of money into an investment account, consistently over time. 

It’s easy to worry about losing your savings when you start investing. But by keeping your money in your mattress (or a savings account), young Americans can miss out financially.

With Stash, you can open an account with $5 and create a diversified portfolio of ETFs (exchange-traded funds), tailored to your risk, and that reflect your interests. Healthcare, robotics, blue chips, bonds, infrastructure, technology–whatever gets you excited, there’s a fund for you on Stash.

  • Wait, what’s an ETF? An  ETF stands for exchange-traded fund. An ETF is a basket of securities, bundled into a fund. ETFs are traded on an exchange (ex. NYSE). They’re a great way to get exposure to many investments (stocks, bonds) in just one investment.

Automatic beats manual, especially when it comes to investing. By turning on Auto-Stash, you can automate moving money from your bank account to your investments, and watch that money add up over time. Start with $5 a week and see how it feels. Then bump it up to $10 week. Get that raise, and then make it $20 a week. Capture the highs and lows of the market and start creating that nest egg for when you want to make a down payment on a house or plan for something magical in a few years.

Retirement? Already?

You’re just starting out. Why are we making you think about retirement? It may seem far away but trust us, by starting early, you’ll be more likely to have a lot more fun and stability in your 60s, 70s, and 80s, than you could ever imagine. And you’ll have years to contribute to a retirement account.

Check and see if your employer offers a 401(k) plan. With a 401(k), your employer takes money from your paycheck before taxes, (that’s why they call it pre-tax) and puts it in your own retirement account. Then your employer gives you the option to invest that money in a range of stocks, bonds, and funds. If your employer offers to match your contributions, take advantage of it. It’s free money that can definitely add up and compound over time.

Here’s the thing though. You don’t need an employer-sponsored retirement account to start planning. You can also open a traditional or Roth IRA on your own. Which one you decide to open depends on your income and whether you think it’s smarter to pay taxes now (that’s a Roth) or pay taxes on the money when you take it out years later in retirement (a traditional). You can open both a traditional and Roth IRA with Stash with just $15, and start contributing to it now.

  • Learn more about 401Ks, Roth and traditional IRAs here.

Get confident

You don’t need a lot of money to save a lot of money. Think about your goals, start small, form good money habits. You’re just starting out, and there’s no better time to start saving and investing than the present.

Stash is investing, simplified. Made for beginners, their app simplifies saving, investing, and retirement to help individuals afford life now and in the future. Stash also provides user-friendly education and personalized guidance so you can learn how to be a confident, smart investor. Sign up today, and get a $5 bonus to start investing with the code findspark; stashinvest.com/start-investing/findspark

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