Financial Decisions Every '80s Kid Needs to Make

Did you grow up listening to your favorite music on a Sony Walkman? Do you think “Stephen King” is its own genre of books and movies? Will New York City subway cars never look the same without wall-to-wall graffiti?

If so, you’re probably an '80s kid. What’s more, you’re now at the age where critical financial decisions need to get made. While we’d much rather be playing Duck Hunt than making a household budget, taking steps to achieve greater financial security and stability is key to living a long and happy life.

With this in mind, let’s get down to the financial decisions every '80s kid needs to make:

Know Your Why

Why do you want to start thinking about your money? If you don't know, read some online articles about the importance of financial health as inspiration. Then, you can set some goals for yourself, whether it's to travel the world, move to another country, or start your business.

Consider setting SMART goals. SMART is an acronym for smart, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. When you set short goals, you set yourself up for success. Smaller goals are easier to achieve and will give you a sense of accomplishment. Plus, you'll stay more motivated as you work towards your next goal and your next one.

Get Life Insurance

You may feel young and fit right now. But what about tomorrow? Let's face it. You're not getting any younger. Those Jane Fonda workout tapes can only benefit you for so long.

You should make life insurance a priority sooner rather than later since your loved ones depend on you, it pays for funeral expenses, and it's cheaper while you're young and healthy. Plus, it's easy to get life insurance online. Life insurance without medical exam plans are available but usually cost more than those that require one.

Set a Budget

Maybe your first goal should be to create a budget. While it was cute to be a Valley Girl who lived at the mall in the '80s, it's not so cute anymore. Setting a budget means knowing how much money is coming and going out. Set aside each paycheck towards bills, savings, and other things like drinks with the girls or shopping sprees.

With a budget, you can let out your inner Valley Girl ever so often. But make sure that you have enough for food, housing, and utilities. Maybe you need to set a budget to pay off student loan payments. The remaining funds can be used to go to the movies or check out a new restaurant in town.

Break Free from Credit Card Debt

First, you need to know your credit score. This is used to determine whether or not you qualify for car loans, home loans, school loans, and so forth. You'll also find out the interest you are eligible for if approved for a loan: the higher your credit score, the lower your rates.

However, you don't want to accumulate debt. While credit cards help build up your credit history, they can be tempting to use. Abusing credit cards can significantly impact your credit score. Avoid paying only the minimum payment due will not improve your credit score. Instead, pay off the balance on time, in full each month.

Plan for Retirement

Most eighties kids don't think of planning for retirement. They believe they will work well into their 60s or later in life. However, some are planning to retire earlier. If you're one of those people, consider your employer's 401(k) or a similar retirement option. If you don't set up a retirement fund, you will leave upwards of tens of thousands floating around. Since pensions may not last, the best way to get some stability in planning for your retirement.

Create a Strategy to Pay Off Your Student Loans

Go over your student loan debt situation and figure out how to pay it down. Pay off the ones with the higher rates so you can get rid of them sooner. Not sure how you're going to afford to pay off your student loans? Debt consolidation and forgiveness programs are just two ways that can help.

Consider Your Estate Plan

Eighties kids may have heard of words like "Trust" or "Will." But unless your Alex P. Keaton, you probably never gave it a second thought. Believe it or not, estate plans aren't just for yuppies. No matter your age, you should have an estate plan in mind.

Thankfully, it's not as hard as you think. Many companies and financial planners make the process of estate planning simple. Or, you can just set one up online. Not only is it affordable, but it's also easy to do.

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