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FRIDAY Five: 5 Financial Tips when Starting your Career

Each week in our Friday Five, we provide five quick tips about a different topic of interest. Interested in seeing a particular subject discussed? Send an email with your FAQ to

This does not constitute advice and advice should be sought in all instances before acting on it.

A recent study highlighted the knowledge gap that many young people have when it comes to financial literacy. Less than a quarter of the participants demonstrated basic financial literacy and a dismal 8% exhibited a high level of financial knowledge.

This is not necessarily surprising, as financial know-how is not something you’re born with, it’s something you learn. And many young people either never had the opportunity or never bothered to learn how to manage their money. Not to fear, there are a few basic financial tips that individuals beginning their career can perfect to be on the road to financial success.

1. Build a budget

This is always the first step in getting one’s finances in order. When you create a budget for yourself, you get a clear picture of how your income is spent. You’ll be able to allocate funds toward necessary items such as rent, bills, food, and paying back loans or debt. Then you can differentiate spending on necessities and luxuries such as going out, shopping, and holidays and curb these when needed. You’ll also learn how much you can afford to put toward savings.

2. Establish an emergency fund

The economy is experiencing uncertainty at the moment, which could lead to unexpected job losses. Don’t get caught out, and be prepared. Your budget will tell you how much you spend monthly and the traditional advice is to save anywhere from 3 to 6 months worth of living expenses. Of course, you could experience an unforeseen emergency and need cash quickly. Better to turn toward savings than your credit card, or even worse – payday loans.

3. Ready for retirement

When you’re just starting out in your career, retirement may seem like a pipe dream and therefore, low on the priority list. But the earlier you start, the more money you’ll be able to save and the better off you’ll be. Invest in plans that provide compound interest whenever possible and be sure to evaluate your contributions frequently so you can increase them when you can afford to.

4. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

The age-old advice – to diversify your portfolio – may seem overhyped, but it’s a sound investment strategy. When you’re young you can afford to invest aggressively in stocks and have lots of other opportunities to grow your money with other outlets. Explore pension options, ISAs, and other avenues to get the most of your money.

5. Keep an eye on credit

One of the things you’ll need to acquire and routinely monitor is your credit. Don’t be short-sighted and rack up credit card debt and personal loans. Make your payments on time and pay off your cards monthly whenever possible. Keep an eye on your credit report to stave off any potential fraud attempts. You’ll need a great credit score to secure cars, flats, and a home in the future.

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Getting a handle on the basics of your finances is just the first step. It’s never too early to be thinking about “adult” things like creating a will, protecting your income, or planning for your future. Be sure to consult a financial professional to ensure you’re headed in the right direction.

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