“Debt? But I’m still so young! What do I need to think about debt for?”

This response from young Australians is all too common in 2015. What they aren’t aware of, however, is the advantage presented to individuals who did think about debt and developed smart and savvy financial habits from a young age, setting themselves up for a financially secure future.

If you didn’t start saving in your twenties, it isn’t too late. If you are in your twenties, it’s a good idea to start now! Debt Free Australia have identified six financial habits that all Australians should adopt now in order to get their finances in order and be prepared for the future.

  1. Save For The Future
    Saving money for your future, your retirement or for your life in general, doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of all things fun. It simply means making smarter decisions when it comes to your spending.For the 20-something year olds, it’s about thinking carefully about whether or not you really need that clothing item, or if a night in with friends will bring the same enjoyment as a pricey night on the town. It’s about working hard now when you have more time to spare and banking your savings to receive greater returns. For the more life experienced, saving is about cost allocation; setting budgets and sticking to them.

    Developing effective spending habits from a young age is an investment in a brighter and more stable financial future.

  2. Live Debt Free
    Living debt free is one of the smartest financial decisions you can make, and staying debt free is the perfect way to increase your chances of a steady financial future.

    When it comes to Australian youth, the cost of tertiary education is likely to be their first encounter with debt. Whilst right now it may be easier to take advantage of financial assistance programs such as HECS, tuition costs will eventually need to be repaid.

    In order to give yourself the best chances of minimising or preventing debt altogether, it is wise to consider paying small amounts of your student debt whilst you study, reducing the amount that will come out of your income in the future.

  3. Set Financial Goals
    Your twenties and thirties are the best times to set financial goals. Many won’t have a myriad of bills or financial demands, thereby making it easier to save money.

    Save for a car, figuring out how much you can afford to pay as a loan and how much you will need for costsafter you make the purchase. Or look to the future and start your emergency fund early – you have nothing to lose from this, but so much to gain.

  4. Surround Yourself With a Motivating Support Group
    At twenty or thirty, many Australians are still living at home or moving out with friends or partners. For those still at home, it is worthwhile discussing your finances with your parents. Having gone through their own financial ups and downs, your parents can be great motivators in ensuring you are staying on track to being financially responsible.

    If you’re married or in a committed relationship, you and your partner need to be making financial decisions together, discussing big purchases and being on the same page about long-term goals.

  5. Act For Yourself
    Family and friends can help you with your motivation, but they cannot pay your bills for you. If you have often turned to your parents in times of financial turmoil, now is the time to stop. By adopting a financially responsible mindset, getting a good job and learning to pay for things yourself, you set yourself on the path to a level of independence that will help you in the long run.