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How to Finance a Tiny House

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

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The tiny home movement has been garnering attention online and captivating the media in recent years. As people seek to minimize their expenses and living space to enjoy other areas of life, tiny houses become a viable option. While purchasing a tiny home may sound appealing, there are many factors to consider before downsizing and joining the movement.

We will walk you through different options on how to finance a tiny house, discuss different types of small dwellings, and talk about the pros and cons of living in a tiny home.

What is a tiny home and how much does one cost?

Tiny homes can vary in structure, makeup and size, but they are typically 600 square feet or smaller, according to Tiny Home Builders. For comparison, the average American single-family home is 2,392 square feet, according to the Census Bureau.

Tiny homes can vary dramatically in price. Depending on the location of the home, the materials used to build your tiny home or the selling price of a furnished small dwelling, prices can range from $15,000 to $100,000.

For example, if you decide to DIY (do it yourself) your tiny home, you can expect to pay anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000 in supplies, plus the time and effort it takes to build it. Should you purchase a completed shell from a tiny home vendor such as Tiny Home Builders, you can expect to pay up to $61,000. And tiny houses on the market can exceed $75,000.

While these prices may seem hefty for a tiny home, keep in mind that the average cost of a new home in the U.S. is $395,000.

4 tiny home financing options

Typically, would-be homeowners get a home mortgage to finance the purchase of their house. While some types of tiny homes qualify for a traditional mortgage, others do not.

So, what are your financing options? Here are four financing options to consider as you aim toward purchasing your own tiny home.

1. Home mortgage

Obtaining a traditional mortgage may be difficult for a tiny home because most lenders require a minimum loan amount, which tiny homes often do not meet.

“The bigger issue is probably the appraisal,” said Mitch Mills, lending manager at Sugar House Mortgage in Salt Lake City. “An appraiser is tasked with arriving at a valuation for a property based on recent sales of like properties. In other words, an appraiser would need to be able to find other tiny homes that have sold in the same market area, ideally within the past 90 days.”

To qualify for a home mortgage, the home must be on a traditional foundation.

“Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and [the Federal Housing Administration] require a property to be situated on a permanent foundation and connected to public utilities. Some of the tiny homes I’ve seen are on wheels, and this would preclude them from being eligible for traditional financing,” Mills explained.

If the tiny home meets size requirements, is traditionally built and is on a permanent foundation, you may be able to acquire a traditional home mortgage. To compare mortgage rates, check out this tool by LendingTree, which owns MagnifyMoney.

2. Home equity line of credit

A home equity line of credit, also called a HELOC, is a type of secondary loan secured by a lien junior to a mortgage. Using a HELOC is another way to finance the purchase of a tiny home.

As you pay down a mortgage, you are building equity in your home. When you use a HELOC, you borrow against the equity you’ve built to secure your secondary loan. For example, if you purchased a $1 million home and have paid off $500,000, you have that much in equity. Using a HELOC, you could get a second mortgage for a specified amount and use that money to purchase your tiny home.

3. Recreational vehicle loan

Some tiny homes are on wheels, making them portable. If they are roadworthy and certified by the RV Industry Association, they may qualify for a recreational vehicle, or RV, loan. LightStream, a division of SunTrust Bank, offers financing up to $100,000, which can  be used for your tiny home purchase.

4. Personal loan

The fourth financing option for a tiny home is a personal loan. A personal loan is an unsecured loan that you can use for any purchase. Once obtained, you can use the borrowed funds for any item, such as a tiny home. Using a personal loan to finance a tiny home can be a good option because you won’t have to get your home appraised or approved to qualify for the loan, allowing you to purchase a tiny home with a foundation or one on wheels.

Personal loans may also be a smart way to finance your tiny home because you can usually borrow up to $50,000 depending on the lender. More information on personal loans to come.

3 personal loan lenders offering tiny home financing

If you choose to finance your home using a personal loan, here are three lenders that offer tiny home financing.

1. LightStream

LightStream offers personal loans that can be used for financing a tiny home. It offers a fixed-rate loan with no fees or prepayment penalties.

  • Terms of loan: 24-84 months
  • APR range: 3.34%–16.99%
  • Origination fee: No origination fee
  • Loan amount range: $5,000–$100,000
  • Credit score required: 660 minimum
APR

3.34%
To
16.99%

Credit Req.

660

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 144

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

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LightStream is the online lending division of SunTrust Bank.... Read More


Your APR may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term, and your credit profile. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount, which is only available when you select AutoPay prior to loan funding. Rates under the invoicing option are 0.50% higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 3.34% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $292.31.

2. SoFi

SoFi offers personal loans ranging from $5,000 to $50,000, which would allow you to purchase a tiny home. SoFi offers unemployment protection, making it a unique lender. Should you lose your job with no fault of your own, the lenders will allow you a payment grace period and connect you to job placement services so that you can get back on your feet.

  • Terms of loan: 24 to 84 months
  • APR range: 6.79%–15.49%
  • Origination fee: No origination fee
  • Loan amount range: $5,000–$50,000
  • Credit score required: 680 minimum
SoFi
APR

6.79%
To
15.49%

Credit Req.

680

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 84

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

SoFi offers some of the best rates and terms on the market. ... Read More


Fixed rates from 6.79% APR to 15.49% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.54% APR to 14.60% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of January 4, 2019 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. . See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 6.54% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.51% plus 4.28% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull.

See Consumer Licenses.

SoFi Personal Loans are not available to residents of MS. Maximum interest rate on loans for residents of AK and WY is 9.99% APR, for residents of IL with loans over $40,000 is 8.99% APR, for residents of TX is 9.99% APR on terms greater than 5 years, for residents of CO, CT, HI, VA, SC is 11.99% APR, and for residents of ME is 12.24% APR. Personal loans not available to residents of MI who already have a student loan with SoFi. Personal Loans minimum loan amount is $5,000. Residents of AZ, MA, and NH have a minimum loan amount of $10,001. Residents of KY have a minimum loan amount of $15,001. Residents of PA have a minimum loan amount of $25,001. Variable rates not available to residents of AK, TX, VA, WY, or for residents of IL for loans greater than $40,000.

Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi's underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

3. LendingClub

LendingClub is another lender that offers personal loans. Because you can use a personal loan for any reason, it can be used toward your tiny home.

  • Terms of loan: 36 or 60 months
  • APR range: 6.95%–35.89%
  • Loan amount range: Up to $40,000
  • Credit score required: 600 minimum
APR

6.95%
To
35.89%

Credit Req.

600

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.00% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingClub is a great tool for borrowers that can offer competitive interest rates and approvals for people with credit scores as low as 600.... Read More

What to consider before financing a tiny home

Now that you know your financing options, it’s time to consider if owning a tiny home is the right decision for you. Before moving forward with a new lifestyle of tiny living, consider the pros and cons of owning and living in a tiny home.

Pros of living in a tiny home

Tiny homes can be less expensive than a standard home. For those who don’t want to rent and wish to avoid the large expense of a standard-sized home, tiny homes can be a great option. Opting for a tiny home allows you to cut back on expenses typically associated with homeownership. While you’ll still have to pay for your tiny home upfront, plus utilities and basic living expenses, they will likely be much less compared to a traditional homeowner. Owning a tiny home allows you to feel the pride of homeownership without the financial burden.

Tiny homes can offer financial freedom. Because your mortgage or loan payment will likely be less than a traditional mortgage, you’ll likely have a surplus of discretionary income to spend, giving you financial freedom. If you wish to spend your extra money traveling, pursuing higher education, or investing, owning a tiny home can offer financial freedom.

Tiny homes can provide more free time. With 600 square feet or less, you only have so much space to clean and upkeep. Because you’ll spend less time cleaning your home and doing yardwork, you’ll have more time to enjoy other hobbies. Tiny homes can provide more free time in which you can enjoy life and the things you like to do with it.

Tiny homes can be portable. Homeownership may appeal to you, but you don’t want to be tied to one location. And you don’t want to rent. Because tiny homes can have wheels, you have flexibility. You can settle wherever you like, permitting zoning laws. If you have wanderlust and wish to explore the country without living out of a suitcase, owning a mobile tiny home is a great option that allows you flexibility and movement while still enjoying the stability and comfort of homeownership.

Cons of living in a tiny home

Tiny homes can be hard to place. Because zoning laws vary city to city and state to state, you cannot place your tiny home anywhere you’d like. Flexibility is a double-edged sword. Tiny homes allow you to take your home anywhere, but you’ll have to make sure you’re moving to a place where it’s legal to place your tiny home. Sometimes, the location you desire may not allow for tiny homes.

Tiny homes can be cramped. Tiny homes are, in fact, tiny. That being said, if you wish to entertain guests, space will be very limited. Also, if you are looking for some privacy in a secluded space, your options are sparse since your space is so small. If the thought of lack of privacy gives you anxiety, tiny homes may not be right for you.

Tiny homes don’t have all the amenities of a traditional home. Depending on your tiny home, you may not have certain amenities such as laundry machines, dishwashers or a full-size refrigerator. While this may be a perk of simplifying, it can also frustrate some potential owners. When purchasing your tiny home, ensure it has all the features you need.

Which type of tiny home do you want?

Do the pros of owning a tiny home outweigh the cons? If so, let’s briefly discuss the different kinds of tiny homes available.

  • Tiny traditional homes: Think your typical house but shrunk down to a smaller version. Tiny traditional homes will have a foundation and will be made of the same building materials, such as wood, plywood and concrete. They are not mobile and do not have wheels.
  • Tiny house on a trailer: Simply put, this is just a tiny house on a trailer. It can be moved from location to location when pulled by a truck. Like a traditional tiny home, they are usually built out of normal building materials.
  • Converted storage shed: A storage shed is usually made of steel or galvanized aluminum, but a converted storage shed can be used as a type of tiny home. To make it feel more like a home, owners can install insulation and drywall and design the inside just as they would an apartment or home.
  • Container home: A container home is a storage unit or semitruck shell transformed into a living space. Once revamped, designed and decorated, it doubles as a home for minimalists.

Does your city permit tiny homes?

The last thing to consider before purchasing a tiny home is where you’ll put it. Each city and state has different building codes and zoning laws that can affect where you are legally allowed to place your tiny home.

Some states require the tiny home to be an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), meaning it is on the same property of a traditional home. But some states have begun adopting the idea of tiny housing and have made it more realistic for tiny homeowners to build and live in the state outside of an ADU. These states have more progressive regulations making it easier for tiny house hunters: California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon and Texas.

The American Tiny House Association has compiled state-by-state information regarding zoning laws and construction codes for tiny houses. Check out the complete guide to see if owning a tiny home in your city is possible.

The tiny home movement is gaining popularity and offers a variety of perks for people looking to minimize, downsize and enjoy a flexible lifestyle.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Sage Evans
Sage Evans |

Sage Evans is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Sage here

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Strategies to Save

99% of Savings Accounts Don’t Beat Inflation: Here Are Some With Higher Rates

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

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Inflation — or the increase in prices and the decrease in the purchasing power of money — is an economic concept commonly discussed in the news and among most adults as it affects cost of living, finances and savings. Right now, the inflation rate is 2.3% annually and has been over 2% for more than a year, according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

In comparison, the average savings account rate is still only 0.26% for nearly 9,000 savings accounts at banks and credit unions across the U.S. For certificates of deposit (CDs), the news is a little better. The average rate is 1.04% (for a one-year CD) among nearly 7,000 banks and credit unions.

While savings account and CD rates are finally starting to increase, very few banks and credit unions offer rates that will outperform the rate of inflation. In a new study, MagnifyMoney sifted through more than 15,000 personal savings accounts and one-year CDs to see where one could earn enough on their savings to keep up with the rate of inflation of 2.3%. Overall, the results were disappointing.

Key findings

  • The average savings account rate is only 0.26%.
  • The average one-year CD rate is only 1.04%.
  • Only 0.4% of the nearly 9,000 savings accounts reviewed last month offered an annual percentage yield (APY) greater than the inflation rate of 2.3%. Often, that savings account rate was capped at the first $500 to $5,000 on deposits.
  • Only 3.4% of one-year CDs were yielding 2.3% or more in November 2018.
  • Credit unions and online banks make up most, though not all, of the savings accounts and CDs that outpace inflation.
  • Some of the best rates are offered by credit unions, for which membership for many may not be possible.
  • Half of the savings accounts reviewed yield 0.15% or less annually.
  • Half of the one-year CDs reviewed yielded 1.00% or less annually.
  • Even though some of the one-year CDs reviewed are offering yields greater than the inflation rate of 2.3%, many interest rate observers expect inflation to increase even faster in the months ahead, meaning that inflation may still get the better of these deposits.

Breaking down the data

Let’s look at some data visualizations that highlight some of the key findings of this study. These three charts below will show you:

  1. The distribution of CDs with the best rates by financial institution (i.e., brick-and-mortar banks, online banks, credit unions)
  2. Distribution of 366 savings account yields
  3. Distribution of 396 one-year CD APYs

Check out this chart that shows which CDs beat inflation by financial institution type. Only 14 brick-and-mortar banks offer rates that compete with the current inflation rate.

This chart displays the distribution of savings account yields as of October 2018. Only seven savings accounts surveyed offer 2.3% or more.

You can see the distribution of one-year CD APYs across 396 CDs in the chart below.

Why many savings accounts and CDs aren’t outpacing inflation

Now that we’ve looked at the data and seen the statistics on savings account and CD rates compared to the inflation rate, let’s discuss two reasons why many savings accounts and CDs are not outpacing inflation.

Big banks play on convenience

Brick-and-mortar banks often compete over convenience, rather than on deposit rates. The price of offering a branch or ATM in as convenient a location as a Starbucks may be more affordable than offering better rates. When a bank snags new business because it’s a convenient option, customers may be less inclined to leave for a better rate.

The largest banks, which represent the largest share of low rate deposits, also have an interest in getting funds into their brokerage and investment accounts, rather than high-yield deposit accounts. In a brokerage account, the bank can earn money on trading commissions and fees on funds.

Online banks, regional banks and credit unions looking to compete with larger banks can’t win when it comes to the number of branches and locations they offer. Often, they don’t have a brokerage arm either. So they compete for new customers by offering attractive rates on deposits.

Inflation rates are increasing faster than interest

If the interest paid on your savings account does not keep up with the rate of inflation, the purchasing power of your savings will decrease over time. For example, if you buy a one-year, short-term CD at 2.5% but inflation increases from 2.3% to 4% within the year, there is no way for your investment to keep up — even with a higher earning rate.

6 standout banks with a high-rate savings or CD account

Putting your money in a savings account or a CD is almost always a better option than keeping your money at home. Savings accounts offer more flexibility and allow you to withdraw your money frequently with limited penalties. A CD often offers higher interest rates but limits access to your funds until the CD term expires.

Based on the data and findings from the MagnifyMoney study, where can one go to get savings account or CD rates that beat inflation? While the majority of banks and credit unions are not offering high-rate savings or CD accounts, here some financial institutions that stand out.

Savings account options that outperform inflation

If you are looking for a savings account that offers a high yield and flexible access to your money, here are options that may be right for you. Just be aware that income from bank accounts is taxable, so even if the headline rate is above inflation, your net return may be below inflation depending on your tax situation.

Vio Bank

The High Yield Online Savings Account from Vio Bank carries a 2.37% APY for all balances. It takes just $100 to open this account and there’s no monthly fee, making Vio Bank an accessible and low-cost option to earn a savings rate this high.

CIT Bank

Another high-yield account to consider is CIT Bank’s Savings Builder account. It offers a 2.45% APY on a tiered basis — savers can earn this high rate by either maintaining a balance of $25,000 or higher or depositing $100 or more into the account each month. It takes just $100 to open a Savings Builder account, and it has no maintenance fee.

Popular Direct

One of the highest savings rates we could find is offered by Popular Direct, the online arm of Popular Bank. It offers a 2.36% APY on its Plus Savings Account, and interest compounds daily. You’ll need to deposit a minimum of $5,000 to open this account, and maintain a balance of $500 or more to get the $4 monthly service fee waived if you.

CDs options that outperform inflation

If you are looking to save your money in a CD and can agree to the terms, these three banks or credit unions are offering rates that outperform inflation.

PenFed Credit Union

For a one-year CD, PenFed Credit Union offers a 2.80% APY and requires just $1,000 to open a CD. This rate outperforms the inflation rate (2.3%) significantly.

Live Oak Bank

Next is another bank with high-rate CDs, Live Oak Bank. Its 12-month CD comes with an APY of 2.85% and requires a minimum opening deposit of $2,500.

Greenwood Credit Union

Greenwood Credit Union is offering a 12-month CD term with a 2.25% APY. The minimum opening deposit is $1,000.

Let’s look at a real-world example. If you were to deposit $10,000 in a one-year CD at Greenwood Credit Union with a 3.00% APY, you’d earn $300 after 12 months.

Based on the results of this study, there are very few (.4%) brick-and-mortar banks, online banks and credit unions that offer high-yield rates on savings accounts and CDs. In most cases, the inflation rate of 2.3% is higher than interest rates being offered. Based on the last year, the inflation rate has stayed above 2%, while savings account rates average only 0.26% and one-year CD rates average 1.04%, according to the MagnifyMoney study.

Still, some financial institutions offer rates that outperform the inflation rate. Check out all your options using the MagnifyMoney savings accounts marketplace. You can also check out some credit unions and online banks that offer high-yield rates for one-year CDs using MagnifyMoney’s CD rates comparison tool.

Methodology

MagnifyMoney surveyed roughly 9,000 personal savings accounts and 6,000 one-year CDs of banks and credit unions available in the U.S. to determine the percentage of products with annual percentage rates that are greater than that of inflation, as measured by the September 2018 Consumer Price Index annualized rate of 2.3%. Banks were surveyed Oct. 30, 2018.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Sage Evans
Sage Evans |

Sage Evans is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Sage here

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Pay Down My Debt

6 Ways to Managing Money in Your 20s

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Disclosure : By clicking “See Offers” you’ll be directed to our parent company, LendingTree. You may or may not be matched with the specific lender you clicked on, but up to five different lenders based on your creditworthiness.

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Life as a young 20-something-year-old is an exciting time. You’ve likely graduated from college, started your first real-world job, and are making decisions on your own. While your adult life has just begun and retirement seems years away, it’s important to start discussing your financial options, managing your money responsibly, and planning for your future now.

This article will walk you through six suggestions on how to manage money in your 20s.

1. Create a budget

Budgeting is the process of tracking your income, bills and expenses in order to assess how much you can spend and what you can afford each month. Creating a budget and sticking to it is the foundation for financial success as it helps you to live within your means and avoid debt.

“The first thing I recommend to most young people starting out is to understand a budget,” said Corbin Green, a growth and development director and financial advisor based in Salt Lake City. “People need to understand what money is coming in and what money is going out each month, and have it laid out in an organized fashion.”

When creating a budget, you’ll want to write down:

  • Your income: How much are you making each pay period?
  • Your expenses and recurring payments: What does your rent/mortgage, utilities, groceries and gas add up to each month?
  • Debts owed: How much do you owe for student loans, car payment, credit card debt?

Once you’ve assessed your income and expenses, you can make your budget.

2. Pay yourself first

Once you’ve outlined your initial expenses, such as your mortgage, car payment and utilities, it’s crucial to add an “expense” of paying yourself first to start building up a short-term and long-term savings account. Treat your savings and retirement account like a utility bill — it must be paid monthly and on time.

“My recommendation is to pay yourself first. The first bill paid each month should be money to your savings account, then your essential bills and anything left over at the end of the month is fun money,” Green said. “The biggest mistake I see is the younger generations make is not saving early enough. They tend to have a ‘kick the can down the road’ attitude and put off savings until their 30s.”

Let’s look at an example: Assuming you want to have $1 million in savings by the time you retire at age 65, this is how much you’ll need to invest each month:

Monthly savings to reach $1 million by age 65

Starting age

Monthly savings required

25

$381

35

$820

45

$1,920

“This generation lives lavishly, so the number we coach people to save is around 20% of their income. That should help them maintain their current lifestyle in retirement,” Green said. “If you want more travel and more fun stuff during retirement, saving 30% of your income will help you live a lifestyle above what you’re currently living.”

Time is on your side when you’re young. A little bit of money saved now is going to make a big difference later. Make your savings payments consistent, sustainable and automatic.

3. Start an emergency fund

In addition to your retirement account, you’ll want to start an emergency fund. An emergency account is money set aside specifically to cover the cost of an unexpected expense. This account usually consists of three to nine months’ worth of money that is easily accessible in case of an emergency.

If something unexpected were to happen (i.e., inability to work, illness, loss of income), you’d have quick access to cash that would sustain you long enough to pay your bills and allow you to find a qualified job.

4. Pay off existing debt

The average millennial has an average of $23,064 in debt, according to a recent study by LendingTree, the parent company of MagnifyMoney. Debt — or money owed to a lender — can be crippling to your financial, and even your physical and mental health.

Large amounts of debt can seem daunting to pay off, but it’s important to make a plan, start paying it off quickly and include it in your budget as a monthly payment. If you have more than one debt, how do you know which to pay off first?

Green suggests consolidating debt to one payment with a lower interest rate when possible. You may find and compare debt consolidation loans you can use to consolidate debt using this tool from LendingTree. You’ll input some personal information before getting to review loan offers.

LendingTree
APR

5.99%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

Minimum 500 FICO

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 60

months

Origination Fee

Varies

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingTree is our parent company

LendingTree is our parent company. LendingTree is unique in that you may be able to compare up to five personal loan offers within minutes. Everything is done online and you may be pre-qualified by lenders without impacting your credit score. LendingTree is not a lender.

But you may be more driven to try the debt avalanche or debt snowball methods of repayment.

“The financial professional in me says to put more money toward the debt with a higher interest rate and some money at the debt with lower interests rates; but never focus on just one expense at a time,” Green said. “But as a human, you may ask yourself ‘which of these debts is a moral victory to pay off?’”

If you owe money to a friend or family member and paying that debt off is a mental relief, Green suggests paying that off first and then moving on to other debts.

As a young adult, it’s important to make a plan to pay off and manage your debt to avoid heavy interest fees.

5. Build credit

A credit report is a report that shows your credit history and is used to determine your creditworthiness. Building a strong credit history and maintaining a high credit score are essential for your financial health. In your early 20s, it’s important to build your credit by paying your credit cards and utilities on time but avoiding debt in the process.

“Never live above your means and use credit for money that you don’t have,” Green said. “I never recommend buying anything on credit unless you have the means to pay it off in full at the end of every month.”

Using a credit card to build credit is a smart use case, but if you can’t afford to pay it off by the end of the billing statement, you probably can’t afford it in the first place.

6. Protect yourself financially

As you enter adulthood, you’ll want to make sure that you are protecting yourself and your finances with adequate insurance. Take advantage of the benefits offered at work — health insurance, life insurance, short and long-term disability insurance and 401(k) match, if offered. You may consider additional benefit packages outside of what your work offers.

“I always recommend you have something outside of work so you have control and coverage should you leave your employer,” Green said.

Managing your money and knowing where to get started with financial planning can be overwhelming and confusing — especially when you’re in your 20s. Finances can be complex, but it’s essential to educate yourself, find out what resources are available to you and start having financial conversations earlier rather than later in life.

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Sage Evans
Sage Evans |

Sage Evans is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Sage here

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