Three Simple Steps to Get Started on the Road to Financial Freedom

Q. How do you balance spending with saving for your future in your twenties?

I struggle with finances. I make enough money, but I find myself feeling like a poor person every month. I live alone. I live comfortably. I live in LA. All these things add up, and you know what Biggie said, “Mo Money, Mo Problems”.

I think my real struggle is internal. I know I need to save, budget, and generally set myself up for financial success, but I also realize this is the only time in my life I will ever have money, and no one depending on me, and I should enjoy it (read: clothes!).

As a 40-something, how important is it to be very tight with money? What’s the right balance? – 20-something, LA

 A. This is a challenge that many 20-somethings struggle with and 40-something women wish they had handled better. As one woman said, “What I know now is that Manolos don’t appreciate.”

That said…it is a case where you can find the best of both worlds. The balance comes with your own balance sheet. We’re talking planning, planning, planning.  Today’s women are making and controlling more money than ever but we’re still not so good at how to make that money work in the future. Only 15% of women who are married do any retirement planning.

Today I’m featuring a guest post and answer from GoGirlFinance…an online resource created to give women more confidence dealing with money and preparing for their financial future. Here’s what their 40-something contributor has to say about the spend or splurge urge:

Dear 20-something,

Good news. You won’t become a bag lady if you splurge on a pair of cute boots now and then. You just have plan a bit and most importantly — pay yourself first.

1. Make a budget and stick to it. Websites such as offer free software to track spending, establish a budget and manage your credit.

2. Stash some money in an untouchable savings account with every paycheck, even if it’s a few dollars at first. You can decide how or if you’d like to invest it later. Revisit every six months to see if you can increase your contribution up to ten percent of your income.

3. Pay your necessities such as rent, food and yes, debt. Pay off loans with the highest interest rates first.  Cover at least the minimum and don’t miss payments or your credit will suffer.

Enjoy whatever leftover income you have to update your wardrobe, if that’s your pleasure. It doesn’t seem like it now but trust me your 40s will be here faster than you think. If looking good is still your priority then (and it will be) you’ll be happy to have the extra cash. Trust me, it’s a lot more expensive to look great at 40 than at 20.    – Writer at GoGirl Finance, 40-something, New York

About the author

Adrienne Sanders has been writing about entrepreneurs, business leaders and influential women for 15 years. She worked as a staff reporter at Forbes Magazine where she chronicled the world’s richest people. She has also written for, The San Francisco Business Times and contributed to The New York Observer and San Francisco Chronicle. Adrienne received a BA from Colgate University and a Masters of International Affairs from Columbia University.

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