These are the lessons to build your wealth in your 20s

Photograph: Rupixen.com/Unsplash

And how they hold true for everyone living in the midst of this global pandemic

There’s much to be said about being in one’s 20s – those glorious years when the world is yours for the asking. But it’s also safe to say that saving money and building wealth isn’t high on one’s priority during those years. Terabytes of data has been spent on offering advice to 20-somethings on how to build wealth during the most crucial decade of one’s life. As it happens, we realised that several of these lessons happen to hold true not just for those in their 20s but for everyone living in the midst of this global pandemic. Hear us out:

1. Start budgeting

So many of us through our lives without budgeting. Sure, we have a general sense of where we’ve spent our ₹₹ but if someone were to put us on the spot and ask us to break it down, chances are we’d fail miserably. Sounds like something you’d do in your 20s? Definitely. Is it a habit that we’d carry forward into our 30s, 40s and even 50s? Quite likely. The pandemic should serve as an important reminder for you to take charge of your finances. You can start by learning how to budget. Which means you have to make a note of every last rupee you spend. Consider maintaining a physical journal instead of punching digits into a smartphone app as the Japanese philosophy of Kakeibo urges you to https://in.style.yahoo.com/what-is-kakeibo-and-what-you-can-learn-from-the-japanese-art-of-saving-money-161539598.html. Writing it down in a journal will make you more aware of how much you are spending and you’ll likely become more conscious of the difference between your wants and your needs.

2. Close all your high-interest loans

Credit card and personal loans remain two of the most expensive ones to pay off because of their high interest rates. These are also two of the most availed of loans in the 20s that burn through your savings. You don’t need an expert to tell you that these are the ones you need to attack as quickly as possible. If you have gold loan, consider repaying that too because gold prices have gone through the roof over the last few months and are predicted to continue rising in the coming months. Learn to prioritise your debt. If you have a car loan and a home loan, pay off the car loan because it’s likely going to be more expensive whereas your home loan will earn you a tax exemption. When you pay off your high-interest debt, you significantly increase your ability to save and invest. Not to mention the fact that it also helps your credit score incredibly.

3. Learn to live frugally

20s are the time when you tend to make the biggest spends on things you don’t need – designer clothes, eating out, partying, going on vacations etc. It’s also the reason why you’re told not just by experts but also by your parents to cut down and consider putting away some cash for the rainy day. This is the rainy day about which they were talking. The pandemic has caused a great deal of frustration even among those who are merely locked up in the comfort of their homes. Despite the easy life that so many of us are leading, it isn’t unusual to experience anxiety. Chances are that once the lockdown is lifted, several of us will start splurging. This is one of the reasons why certain sectors such as automobile are expecting a surge in business post-lockdown. It is tempting to swipe that card and buy that thing you’ve been dreaming about but before you do, think about what you’d do if you were among those thousands who lost their job and don’t have another one in hand. Even if you’ve been a high spender, there’s a good possibility you’ve saved up considerable amount of money during this lockdown because all your non-essential expenses – Ubers and shopping to parting and eating out – have come down to zero. Just remember that feeling of seeing that massive amount in your bank account at the end of the month before you enter the CVV number on your next purchase.

4. Be open to changing jobs

This may have sounded like a great piece of advice for you in your 20s but it probably seems counterintuitive given the state of the world in which we are living. But is your job really as safe as you think it is? There is a possibility that you are among those select few people that will get to keep your job. If you’re absolutely certain of it, sure, there’s no point in jumping from the frying pan into the fire. But if you’re unsure of your position, would you rather wait in anticipation or start looking out so when the other shoe drops, you’re out of the red zone. If you don’t find a job – which is likely given the circumstances – at least you will be mentally prepared to move on to the next phase of your life. Which brings us to our final point…

5. Find a side gig

A side gig may sound like a thing you’d have done in your 20s and may find it beneath you to do it in your 30s or 40s. Fact is that the urge to hustle tends to wither away as you grow older. But there couldn’t have been a louder wake-up call than this global pandemic to go back to the basics. If you’ve never had any it’s probably a good time to start looking now. Don’t expect a miracle but definitely don’t give up. If you had past side gigs, start by reaching out to the people who offered them to you and check if you could start over with them. Ask yourself honestly what made you gave up that gig; chances are it’s because you got lazy or became too self-important. These crazy times should serve as a reminder that no job is beneath you and you could possibly do a lot better with a sense of self-worth than self-importance.