Entering your 20s means you'll quickly need to learn how to navigate the world of personal finances, much of which you probably didn't learn in college or high school courses.
Without any previous lessons on finances, it can be challenging to know where to start. Follow this guide as we outline the financial decisions you'll need to make in your 20s.
Setting a Budget
The first step to being a fiscally responsible young adult is setting a budget. Your budget will determine many future financial decisions, from where you can live to what splurges you can make. Look at the expenses you currently owe every month and your projected income to determine how much you should be spending on bills, daily expenses, etc.
Getting rid of your debt as early as possible is a critical step for newly independent 20-year-olds. However, some may not be able to get rid of debt as soon as they hope. Once again, look at your budget, then decide if you'd like to put more toward tackling debt now or pay your loans as they come.
While you may be able to hold onto your parents' insurance until 26, you'll have to choose your own plans sooner or later. From health insurance to renter's and car insurance, you shouldn't skip an opportunity to cover yourself in the case of an accident. Find a provider and plan you're comfortable with, and get your coverage as soon as possible.
Saving for a Rainy Day
Navigating how to save is another critical financial decision you'll have to make in your 20s. Living paycheck to paycheck is not a sustainable course of action. Even putting a small portion of your wages into a savings account can make a big difference—especially if an emergency you didn't prepare for occurs.
Starting To Invest
Investing is a scary topic for young adults, but it's a great way to build wealth. Starting to invest as a young adult will set you up for success on your long-term financial plan. However, be sure to conduct research before jumping into the market to decide when, where, and how much you'd like to invest.
Your 20s are an optimal time to learn and grow. One area of life you'll undoubtedly learn a lot about is managing finances. Use this guide to help you get started on the path to becoming a fiscally responsible adult.
Tesla's ups and downs have been a roller coaster for investors over the last few years, but Monday's announcement that the company will be added to the S&P 500 should grab everyone's attention.
Tesla met the criteria to join the exclusive club representing some of the most valuable public companies in the US back in September. Despite the delayed addition, the S&P Selection Committee will include the company in the benchmark index starting Monday, December 21st.
There is currently over $11 trillion in assets benchmarked to the S&P 500, including $4.6 trillion in indexed funds. With Tesla's addition, these funds will have to buy Tesla stock and include it in their portfolios. Passive funds are expected to purchase around 95 million shares while active fund managers will need to purchase 30 million on top of that. That's over $50 billion dollars flowing into Tesla stock as portfolios are rebalanced.
If you've been holding onto Tesla stock, this is great news for you as there is going to be much more demand from institutional investors forced to buy the stock. If you've been looking for the right time to sell, you're going to have a lot of eager buyers this December. The stock's jump in price after the announcement is a testament to how much value the increased demand is expected to create.
Even if you don't hold any Tesla stock, this will affect you too. Tesla is going to be one of the largest companies ever added to the index, and that $50 billion dollars is going to have to come from somewhere. All those investment funds indexed to the S&P 500 need to sell shares of other companies in order to buy Tesla to ensure their portfolios reflect the car company's portion of the index. This trade is expected to be so large that the S&P Dow Jones Indices is soliciting feedback as to whether Tesla should be added all at once or in two tranches to give investors more time to balance portfolios.
If you are invested in a fund that tracks the S&P, you might be excited that you are finally going to get a piece of some of the action. Come December 21st, many investors who have kept their money index funds will find themselves owning Tesla shares. If the stock continues on its upward trajectory, this is great news. However, some investors have accused Tesla stock of being a bubble and adding it at an inflated price may open investors to losses should the share price drop in the future.
What is Robinhood?
The Robinhood app debuted in 2013 as a first-of-its-kind revolutionizing free investment platform. Much like the 700-year-old story of the hero to the people, Robin Hood, FinTech entrepreneurs Vladimir Tenev and Baiju Bhatt created the platform in order to make stock trading easily accessible to the general public and not just the wealthy.
The sleek designed interface of the Robinhood app is easy to use
What do I need to open a Robinhood account?
Essentially, you don't need anything but your basic info and email to get your account started. Since Robinhood doesn't require a minimum deposit, you can connect your banking accounts after setup. Your Robinhood account can be accessed either from the web or through their mobile app.Once you link your financial institution to transfer funds into the account, you can start buying and selling stock. Robinhood features instant deposits, which makes up to $1000 of your pending bank transfer available immediately for trades. This can be crucial if you wish to buy on stock right away for max gains, as it can take up to five business days for the transfer to go through.
The most enticing aspect of joining Robinhood may just be the randomized free stock they give to each user at sign up. Although there is a 98% chance that stock will range anywhere from $2.50-10 in value, there's a 2% chance you might receive a stock valued at $200 or more!
The statistics and return on individual Robinhood stocks is easy to read and understand
- Robinhood offers fractional share purchases. This allows you to buy a portion, or fraction, of a stock share. Say you want to invest in Tesla stock but don't want to put around $400 into buying one share of it. With fractional shares, you can invest as little as $1 into stocks like Tesla.
- The refer a friend program offers you another randomized free stock for each successful referral.
- With Robinhood's cash management program, uninvested cash deposits are managed through Robinhood's network of program banks, where it earns a variable interest (currently .30%) and is protected under FDIC insurance regulations. You also receive a debit card for use of the funds and can make purchases online through Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. All of this is offered to Robinhood users free of charges or fees.
- For $5 a month, users can upgrade to Robinhood Gold. With Gold membership, you get higher thresholds for instant deposits, substantially superior market research through Morningstar and NASDAQ, and access to margin trading to buy stocks on borrowed money.
Some of the popular stocks on Robinhood will show brief analytics, but professional research is only available to Robinhood Gold members
- The user is in complete control over which funds to buy and sell. There is no financial advisor in charge of your investments. With complete control, the user has to either take time to do their own research or take the risk of possibly losing big without having expert advice.
- Robinhood limits you to only one account option, a brokerage account. Without the option of a tax-deferred retirement account as the investment vessel, users have no choice but to pay taxes on the account right away.
Who is Robinhood Best Suited for?
Robinhood offers cryptocurrency trades from many of the biggest companies in the business. Being one of the few brokerage apps that allow this, Robinhood is great for people looking to get into crypto investing.
Generally speaking, Robinhood is best for new-to-investing users who want to try an innovative way to dip into the world of investing with a little bit of cash. However, I wouldn't recommend this app for anyone looking for anything long term.While Robinhood gained much of its craze because of being the first commission-free trading app, many more brokers have also gone to commission-free trades. Ameritrade and Fidelity are two brokerages that offer commission-free trades but with the full service and options of a mainstream brokerage.
Sustainable living is more than just a buzzword these days; it has impacted our lives from the products we consume to the food we eat, helping us find balance in our lives, both physically and mentally.
So why not apply this concept to the way we invest our money as well? Enter—socially responsible investing.
Every dollar we spend gives us the ability to make a change in the world and as investors, we are at the forefront of creating a lasting impact. This can be done through Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) which gives us the ability to grow our money while investing in causes we care about.
What is Socially Responsible Investing?
Socially Responsible Investing is when investors consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors when choosing where to put their money. This means choosing businesses that are ethically sound and align with the core values of the investor. SRI also means avoiding industries that have a negative impact on the environment, such as alcohol, tobacco, fast food or fossil fuel production.
The most important ESG factors vary by investor. Some may care most about the size of a company's carbon footprint while others might prioritize fair treatment of employees and ethical practices in the workplace. SRI has become incredibly popular in recent years and The Bank of America estimates that there will be a $20 million flow in this type of investing over the next two decades.
Different ways to invest in SRIs
Socially responsible investing is entirely dependent on what the investor wants to support through his/her investment strategy—be it climate change or workplace equality. Hence, there is no one size fits all approach to this type of investing. Here are a few ways to invest more intentionally:
Mutual funds are known to be safe bets for many investors, and they are popular among socially responsible investors as well. There are more than 200 socially responsible mutual funds on the US SIF website for investors to choose from. You can find data on the financial performance of a stock along with information on how the company in question contributes towards a greater social impact.
SRI mutual funds focus on three main areas:
1. Environmental, Social and Governance funds—or ESG for short—are funds invested in industries that have adopted ethical practices. The company's material impact is taken into consideration along with its financial performance.
2. Impact funds—While ESG funds place equal importance on both impact and financial performance of a stock, Impact funds aim to put social impact first. These funds invest in companies that create societal change but may not offer the best financial return. They're good choices for investors who prioritize their social intentions over financial gain.
3. Faith funds—These funds invest in stocks of companies whose values are based on the Christian, Catholic or Islamic faith. Companies that don't fall under this category are excluded.
Socially Responsible Investing isn't just limited to mutual funds; other investment assets are getting into the SRI game as well. Alternative investment options for ethical investors include property funds and hedge funds which are said to be a $588 billion industry today. Investors who opt for this type of security have over 780 alternative investment funds to choose from.
Advantages of SRI funds
People who take the socially responsible investment approach usually tend to go all in. This means that their portfolios only include stocks of companies that are socially and ethically responsible. Here are the benefits of adopting such a strategy:
1. Stick to your values
All our actions and reactions are based on a core set of values that we follow. Socially responsible investing lets us apply this principle to our investment strategy as well. Investing intentionally through SRIs allows you to do more than just discuss social issues; you have the ability to use your money to take action for what you believe in.
2. Invest and let go
Most financial assets we invest in require micromanagement—either by us or a financial advisor. SRI funds, however, are designed to be low risk, allowing you (the investor) to adopt a hands-off approach. You can use your time to focus on riskier assets in your portfolio.
Disadvantages of SRI funds
While SRI funds may seem like a great addition to your portfolio, they do have drawbacks as well. These include:
1. Financial performance takes a backseat
Socially responsible investing allows you to invest in causes that you care about, but very often a strong focus on a company's ethical practices means that financial performance can take a backseat. Studies done on SRIs at different time periods showed that they underperformed in comparison to other stocks. Hence, when picking SRI stocks, it is important that you don't deviate from your financial goals.
2. A marketing gimmick
Although climate change and the carbon footprint are growing concerns, it is also important to remember that we live in a society where profits trump social ethics. Companies that claim to be ethical or socially responsible may be using corporate partnerships to improve their position in the market. In many cases, the illusion of social responsibility is simply a marketing gimmick to earn greater profits. The sad reality is that businesses who promote eco-friendly practices may be the perpetrators of an environmental scandal. A great example of this is when Volkswagen deliberately claimed they would design a system to reduce carbon emissions in order to gain an edge over their competitors; meanwhile, the company's production plant was actually poisoning the planet.
Is SRI the right fit for you?
Millennials and Gen Z are at the forefront of using socially responsible investing to create a lasting impact with their finances. This in no way means that SRIs are a fad that will eventually pass—in fact, they are here to stay. Between 2016 and 2018, the number of investments in SRIs grew by 38 percent. In the world of investing where making money has become the main goal, socially responsible investing allows you to earn an income while promoting change.
At the same time, this investment strategy may not be for everyone. In certain situations, investors should be willing to forgo extra income in favor of supporting a social cause. This trade-off is something that needs to be considered before investing with this approach. However, if you put in the time and effort, it is possible to find stocks that meet both your social and financial goals. Striking that perfect balance can help you feel secure, knowing that your finances are put towards a worthy cause!
- The State of Socially Responsible Investing ›
- What is Socially Responsible Investing (SRI)? ›
- Complete guide to ESG and socially responsible investing (SRI) ›
- 7 Great Socially Responsible Mutual Funds ›
- The Pros and Cons of Socially Responsible Investing - The Dough ... ›
- The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment ›
- 7 of the Best Socially Responsible Funds | Funds | US News ›
- Socially responsible investing - Wikipedia ›
- Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Definition ›