Anyone can save and travel the world by putting themselves and their bank accounts on the right path if they just know a few basic guiding principles. You don't have to understand the stock market or know where to invest your money to be moving in the right direction. All you need to know are a few easy steps that will keep you in the right mindset to build a strong financial foundation.
Money Is Personal
You don't need to understand how an ATM router works to understand your money is personal. This doesn't mean you can't discuss your money with people you trust. It means your money exists to benefit you and only you, so you have to plan for your situation and not anyone else's. Society is great at making you think you have to live the same life as someone ten years older than you because they are the picture of success: nice suit, fancy car, important job. But you have to remember that you're not that person yet. Respect where you are in life and don't get upset if you don't immediately fit the mold of "successful." Live within your means and plan to save money so you can eventually have the nice things you want too.
Invest in Yourself
The stock market can be a great place to grow capital, but putting your extra chunk of savings toward a degree or certification to move you ahead in your career can go much farther. If you already have the degree you want, maybe there are few practical skills you could brush up on to get an edge over other job-seekers. Keep an eye out for online classes or continued education classes at your alma mater that pertain to any skills you could use in the workforce. Things such as learning a second language, a supplementary business course, or an introduction to marketing can all build on your existing talents to make you the best candidate for a job.
It seems everyone has some level of debt these days, which is okay. There are circumstances where taking a loan is the only viable option, but you want to make sure you can pay it back in a reasonable amount of time. Some loans will have low interest rates, which means you won't accrue much of an extra bill on top of the principal amount. Others, however, have rates that make it seem nearly impossible to pay off with just monthly payments. If you have any loans with more than a 7% interest rate, you want to clear those first. After those are gone, focus on putting money toward any other loans and paying those off as well. Once you eliminate your debt, you'll have the money from those monthly payments back in your pocket and the added bonus of boosting your credit score.
Save for Retirement
If you're just starting out with managing your finances, it might seem like retirement is a lifetime away. Although you aren't staring down the barrel of a post-labor life, it's still important to plan for the day you stop working. If you start saving for retirement early, you can accrue significantly more money for your golden years than if you wait until you can see them on the horizon. As a general rule, you should try to save at least 2-5% of your income in some type of retirement account, regardless of how much you make. Every penny counts when it's going toward your future.
Creating financial stability may seem like a monumental task, but it's easy to get started and stay on the right path. Just remember to focus on your situation, invest in yourself, pay off debt, and save for retirement.