But I wanted to answer slightly differently. Own your home as quickly as you possibly can. It's unlikely that housing prices will see much easing for a long time, and rent will go up in line with housing. The trap so many are in now are not being able to afford a house, but with rent payments outpacing mortgage payments, those renting are paying more, getting no equity from payments or home value appreciation. My current property has a mortgage of $2,900 and my neighbor two doors down in a smaller house rents for a little over $5,000, that's a difference of over $25,000 a year, plus the approximate 10% appreciation my house is expected to get. I'm making over $100,000 a year more than my renting neighbor just on living situation. Plus, for now at least, I can deduct the interest on my mortgage, so my taxes are lower. The few thousand a year I have to spend on maintenance that a renter doesn't, does not come close to making a difference in today's and the medium term housing market.
James recommends the following next steps:
Natalie DunnCareerVillage.org Team
This is a really important question that I think a lot of people have when they're thinking about their careers. There are a lot of ways to be financially comfortable and not have to worry about money. My advice, though, would be to aim to have a stable career where you have a consistent salary that you can rely on, vs. trying something more risky where you could have a lot of upside (potential to make a lot of money) but don't have that same stability. Knowing that you will have a paycheck coming every week is a huge help in not worrying about money. There are a lot of careers that have stable income, depending on what you're interested in.
My other major tip is to save money and live within your means. What I mean by that is to try to live and spend money in a way that you can save money every month. For example: instead of renting the most expensive apartment you can pay for, choose one where you can pay the rent, then have money leftover for groceries, other bills and expenses, and saving some money a month (even if it's a very small amount). People often talk about "paying yourself first" which means when you get a paycheck, immediately try to put some amount of money in your savings. It can start with $5, or $20, $500 or more. Once you do that, pay your expenses (rent, groceries, bills), if you have any leftover, then that can be used for some fun things, travel, or you can decide to save more. Sometimes we have moments in life where you aren't able to save money (maybe you have a big expense like moving, or need to support a family member), which is why it's so helpful to save money when you do have some extra income at the time.
It sounds like you are already in a great place thinking about being financially secure and wanting to make a plan for your future. Starting early is a really great idea, and you are well on your way!
I would recommend being the best at what you want to do. The best usually get paid the best. So how do you be the best? Practice. Practice what you do and strive to be good at it. That can often include having a college degree related to the work that you want to do. If you can't get a degree immediately, you should stay educated on what you do for a living. That can come from reading, videos, and even taking free classes online. You have to constantly be learning and constantly challenging your own skills. That means if you are the best, you need to consider how to grow in a new way. Many people become supervisors of other people at that point. I didn't opt to do that. I once had a supervisor who asked me how I want to grow in my career - up or out. Up means moving up into management. Out means focusing on expanding your skills in your specific area of interest. I am an instructional designer. I can create training for leader-led training, web-based training, video, etc. For me to grow OUT, I would need to expand my knowledge of the latest innovations in the industry related to those areas. I also work on learning tools that I didn't know before, going from Adobe Captivate to Lectora to Storyline as design tools. I also have started to learn tools like Adobe PremierePro and AfterEffects to expand my knowledge of video creation.