You are going through a very exciting and full-on time in your life. You have no concerns and live life as it comes. This decade is party season! Many 20-somethings are living at home with their parents, if they can stand them, with no view of leaving.

Once university is done, you have life to contend with. Many 20-year-olds still have no idea what career they want, which can be challenging. Some feel real pressure around picking their career and therefore the rest of their lives; some thrive on it and jumped straight into their dream job.

teen girls forming heart shape with their hands

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Others extend their studies or take a “gap year”, travelling, maybe working to make some money to stay away from home and reality for a little longer. Then the first real job is here, and you’ve done your uni-studies so you know it all and can do it all – but it doesn’t seem to work on that way. The stuff taught at uni is kind of useful, but in reality it’s more about paperwork, processes and following orders. The invincible, know-it-all feeling can stick for a while, but inevitably your enthusiasm drops as working life reality kicks in. Twenty-something these days rarely stay in a job for longer than two years, which can be attributed to an upbringing based in today’s instant society.

Instant satisfaction is a must and if you’re not getting it, you move one. You may end up with a few jobs under your belt, but if you’re not careful the endless list of positions on your resume can be a deterrent for the job you’ve dreamt of having your whole life. Today’s 20-year-olds are very different to any before.



You don’t have many large outgoings, so save as much as you can. Rule of thumb – particularly if you’re living at home – is save at least half.


More and more people are staying at home longer to save for, say, a house deposit. But this only works if you are actually saving!


The federal government provides incentives for low-income earners to put money into super. So you might want to  look at this while you have surplus cash flow.


You don’t have to get it all right now. You don’t have to have all the answers.


You might not need insurance yet, but at 27 or so you’ll get it cheaply as it will ever be. For health cover, do it by 30.


One thing many people say is “I wish I had listened to advice in my 20s.” Listen to others who have gone through it.


Ever since Christopher Reid started work at a bank as a fresh graduate, he was determined to own his first property.

It took him six long years to save enough for a deposit and, at the age of 28, he and his partner, Danielle, moved into a stylish one-bedroom apartment in Paddington close to Centennial Park just before Christmas last year. They paid $650,000 for the new apartment in a tiny block of 12 and jointly pay off the mortgage of $3,800 a month.

“From the outset, when I started to work I wanted to own my own property,” Reid said. “So I continued to stay at my parents home in Haberfield and saved whatever I could for a deposit on an apartment. There was no way I could move out, rent, meet all living expenses and save enough to buy a unit.”

And he had to make sure it was not any old apartment in any old suburb. Christopher and Danielle wanted to live in Paddington on a nice street for lifestyle reasons, as the area offered lots of cafes, and is close to Bondi Beach and the SCG where he could watch his favourite sports – AFL, rugby, and cricket.

“The apartment ticked all the boxes. It took us a year to find after we lost out on some auctions, including a lovely Balmain unit – it was disheartening.”

Like a good banker, and with a property in the bag, Christopher has now moved on to his next project – to build a diversified portfolio of blue-chip shares, currencies and cash.

“I am a conservative investor. I do not need to take unnecessary risks. So I have a small share portfolio of the top ASX 200 companies, which deliver modest dividends but good returns down the track.”

Christopher also believes he is financially literate and savvy enough to manage his own personal finance. “I have a simple financial strategy – stick to low-risk financial opportunities. If you buy high-yielding, speculative stocks you have to watch them like a hawk. Literature is an investor’s best friend – pick up a newspaper and read up on what’s happening. It’s all common sense.”

“I plan to keep this strategy and build up my wealth portfolio until I am 35. I will then review my strategy and consider putting more money into superannuation.”

For other 20-somethings, Christopher recommends their first priority is to save, do their own research and, if they can afford it, engage a financial adviser.

“My goal is to upgrade and buy a house, but I want to hold on to our apartment as a long-term investment,” Christopher said.


Having completed  a trade or degree, we’re off and running in the rat race. It’s easy for money to slip through our hands at this stage, so the smartest thing you can do is to send $500 or $1,000 a month to, say, a low-cost managed fund. Search “Dan Solin + Google employees” and invest an hour in watching the video that comes up.

Know the size of your HECS bill. If you earn less than $54,000pa this won’t show on your pay-slip yet and the amount can be a bit of  a shock if you want a loan. Thinking about insurance? If you are over 27 now is a good time to lock in your premiums while they are relatively low. If you had part-time jobs while studying, consolidate your super funds.

Well let’s face it, apart from having fun, there is nothing much that matters. Until one day mum and dad say: it’s time for you to move out! That’s a great time to start to get your money management in order. So step one is to start a budget, work out what it’s going to cost to live, and get a job, or several jobs, to cover it.




The information provided in this page is general in nature and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information you should consider the appropriateness of the information with regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. You should seek independent advice from your financial adviser before making any decisions.



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