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12 Essential Money Tips for Every Phase of Your Financial Life

·5-min read
Alife / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Alife / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Everyone makes money missteps at some point in their lives, whether it's splurging on unnecessary items or neglecting to contribute to retirement funds as soon as possible. Even financial pros are not immune to making mistakes.

Follow Along: 31 Days of Living Richer
Check Out: Old-School Money Advice You Shouldn't Follow Anymore

To help you avoid unnecessary pitfalls, check out these tips and tricks that can help you live your best money life -- no matter your age.

Last updated: Aug. 19, 2021

nito100 / Getty Images/iStockphoto
nito100 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Start With Saving

Although it’s tempting to spend rather than save when you get a paycheck, it’s important to prioritize putting money away into your checking or savings account. On top of that, you should also use the right checking or savings accounts to grow your money.

Survey: Americans' Savings Drop to Lowest Point in Years

martin-dm / Getty Images/iStockphoto
martin-dm / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Avoid Lifestyle Inflation

It's important to increase your savings rate whenever you start earning more in order to keep growing your net worth.

"Save one-third of every pay raise you get so you don't succumb to lifestyle inflation," said Ted Jenkin, a certified financial planner. By starting this practice early in your career, you'll develop good habits like saving, investing and paying down debts instead of spending it on more stuff you won't care about in a few years' time.

Check Out: 50 Ways To Live the Big Life on a Small Budget

katleho Seisa / Getty Images
katleho Seisa / Getty Images

Don't Waste Your Money on Things You Don't Need

Whether you've just received your first paycheck or your first raise, it can be tempting to spend your money on things you want rather than on things you need -- but this can be a huge mistake.

"Don't spend so much money on clothing," said Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, founder of the personal finance blog "Making Sense of Cents." "I've worked full-time since I was around the age of 14, yet I didn't really start saving money until nearly a decade later."

Learn More: 22 Side Gigs That Can Make You Richer Than a Full-Time Job

izusek / Getty Images
izusek / Getty Images

Don't Buy Things To Impress Other People

Spending on immediate wants can hurt your future needs, said John Rampton, founder and CEO of Calendar.

"Don't waste your time on expensive cars or gadgets," he said. "It's better to save money for the long-term and for things that can keep generating money, rather than taking (your) money."

Be Aware: 40 Money Habits That Can Leave You Broke

iStock.com
iStock.com

Start Investing In Your Retirement ASAP

A GOBankingRates' retirement savings survey found that 64% of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. It's easy to put off saving for retirement when you're in your 20s, but that's the best time to start. The sooner you save, the sooner you can take advantage of compound interest. No matter your age, it's important to prioritize investing in your retirement accounts.

SARINYAPINNGAM / Getty Images/iStockphoto
SARINYAPINNGAM / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Don't Fear the Stock Market

Doing something that scares you can be a good thing for your finances. Novice investors are often scared of the stock market, but just by getting started, even on a small scale, you're furthering your financial life. Learn some of the safer ways to invest for the long term if you're worried about making mistakes. And the sooner you get started, the better off you'll likely be.

Find Out: What Is an Index Fund and Should I Buy One?

Drazen_ / Getty Images
Drazen_ / Getty Images

Now, Invest Even More

"Invest in the market, and lock in gains by purchasing income," said Tom Hegna, financial author, speaker and economist. "Once you have your basic expenses covered with income, buy more."

By making wise investments now, you can create income for yourself in retirement to supplement Social Security, allowing you to live a more comfortable life in retirement.

Cecilie_Arcurs / Getty Images
Cecilie_Arcurs / Getty Images

Invest In Yourself

In addition to making financial investments, it's important to invest in yourself by learning everything you can about personal finance so you can create a financial plan that works for you.

It's easy to write-off personal finance as confusing, but you're only hurting yourself. The sooner you take the time to learn some money basics, the sooner you can use this knowledge to plan out short- and long-term goals.

AleksandarNakic / Getty Images
AleksandarNakic / Getty Images

Listen To Yourself and Take Action

Figure out your goals, including your financial goals. By doing so, you’ll know exactly what you need to do in order to achieve them. It will also motivate you to stick to your goals and work even harder.

Eva-Katalin / Getty Images
Eva-Katalin / Getty Images

Don't Waste Time Worrying

And don't let fear get in the way of going after what you want, said Jen Sincero, New York Times bestselling author and success coach.

"Worrying is praying for what you don't want, so stop worrying about money and focus on what you do want," she said.

shapecharge / Getty Images
shapecharge / Getty Images

Remember That Money Isn't Everything

Although you need money to cover expenses and other life necessities, it isn't the be-all and end-all. However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't ask for what you deserve.

"Ask for more money and learn to negotiate as soon as possible," said money expert Brittney Castro. "(But) don't chase money, because it's not the holy grail. Enjoy it. Make lots of it. But always remember it's a resource, not an indication of who or what you are in the world."

FlamingoImages / Getty Images/iStockphoto
FlamingoImages / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Don't Let Money Define You

Dominique Broadway, a millennial personal finance expert and founder of Finances Demystified, agreed that money doesn't define you or your success.

"Do not link money with success," she said. "Money can come and go. Focus on saving and growing your money, and don't focus on 'shiny things' to keep up with other people."

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 12 Essential Money Tips for Every Phase of Your Financial Life

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