Older people tend to think their lives really began at age 25, but recent college grads might feel like it’s the beginning of the end.
That’s not surprising, considering the financial hardship that can come along with paying for a college education. It’s not just college, however — there are a number of other factors that can affect your finances and put you in crisis mode by the time you hit the quarter-century mark.
Here are seven financial regrets many people have by the time they reach 25, and how to potentially avoid them:
Dealing With Lots of Student Loans
This, of course, is the big one for most people in their early 20s, particularly if they continued their educations after high school.
With the average student loan debt approaching $30,000 — and many in much deeper than that — paying for college can be a daunting proposition. It can seem unfair, almost punishing people for receiving a higher education.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Make sure to pick a school that is financially viable for you while also fitting your other needs. Also, teach yourself how to handle your debt after graduation.
Not Listening to Advice
If you’ve made it this far through the post, you’re likely open to financial advice. But let’s face it — many at a young age aren’t. It’s always a good decision in life and business to hear as many points of view as possible before making a decision, and dealing with your financial future is no different.
In other words, listen to your parents. Not everything they say will ring true for you, of course, but it’s likely they’ve been in your shoes and can help you avoid financial mistakes they may have made.
Not Monitoring Your Health
Getting in the habit of living and eating healthy will be good for you in the long run, and we’re not talking about life expectancy. We’re talking financially.
A healthy lifestyle means eating right and exercising, of course, but it also means generally taking care of yourself to avoid future complications. Medical bills are no joke. And the worse your ailment, the more you’ll likely have to pay. So do yourself a financial favor and avoid being unhealthy in the first place.
Not Taking Advantage of Your Parents’ Healthcare
Along the lines of taking care of yourself, be sure to visit the doctor regularly while you still can under your parents’ health insurance plan. Go early and go often. Get all your tests and screenings taken care of so you can set your self up for a healthy life after age 25.
Not Going to Community College
Yes, attending a four-year university is a unique experience you will remember forever, but it’s also a costly one. Many grads regret not attending a two-year community college first before finishing their degrees at a four-year university.
That strategy has its advantages, the most obvious being that it’s less expensive. However, it also comes with minimal-risk — attending a community college can be a relatively inexpensive way to dip your toe in many different waters to see which field will ultimately be right for you. That, in turn, may also help you make a better decision on which four-year college you eventually attend.
Going out to Eat
Being college-aged is synonymous with being social, and going out with friends is part of the deal. Be sure not to depend too much on eating out, though. Teaching yourself to cook at home will not only save you money, but it can be fun as well. It can also be a good way to impress your friends.
Depending on Credit Cards
Having a credit card is fine, and it can be a good way to build your credit rating. But over-using it can be a problem that negatively affects your financial future.
Here are a couple basic tips for credit cards that will keep your spending down and help your credit score:
- Be sure to make your minimum monthly payments on time. That shows the credit ratings agencies you’re serious about your financial commitments.
- Keep your balance at around 10 percent of your credit limit. For instance, if your limit is $1,000, keep your balance around $100. This shows the agencies you don’t take on more than you can handle, and it will obviously cost you less.
Everybody has at least some regrets by the time they reach age 25. It’s a part of living. If you’re able to limit the regrets you have financially, though, it will help you live a happier debt-free life going forward.