If there’s something I’ve heard numerous time from hundreds of people, it’s that they did not receive proper financial education and tips when they were younger. A lot of their money lessons were expensive to learn, often coming after they made mistakes that cost them money. Here are 20 money lessons for 20 somethings, in case they didn’t know them before:

  1. Overdrafting is expensive: When you spend more money than you have in the bank, it’s going to cost more than just putting that money back. Overdraft fees can add up and get very costly. Don’t throw money away; keep up with your balance and keep your spending within it.
  2. A budget is necessary: Budgets sound boring but we do so much better when we’re disciplined. Set up a budget and stick with it so you have enough money for your needs and maybe even your wants.
  3. Credit cards aren’t evil if you know how to use them properly: While some may tell you not to get a credit card, or why you don’t need one, that doesn’t mean credit cards are the root of all evil. It’s all about using credit cards properly: buy something with the card and pay it off in full every due date.
  4. Your credit will follow you: Just when you thought you got away with not paying that bill a few years ago, it will come back to haunt you. Late payments stay on your credit for 7 years, and by that time, you’ll probably be ready for a new job, a new home, or new credit, and late payments may prevent that from happening.
  5. An emergency fund will come in handy: You may have heard that shit happens because it does. You’re not immune from emergencies. Have an emergency fund for when you have your moment of need.
  6. You can start a successful business: You don’t need a lot of money to start a successful business. If you have the motivation and an idea, you can get it done. Don’t procrastinate; start your business today.
  7. Don’t get stuck in the rat race: You may have heard that a desk job is for you and moving up the corporate ladder is the way of life, but that’s not the case. If you’re not feeling it, it may not be for you. Explore other options!
  8. Insurance is another emergency fund: I once heard in a Chris Rock movie that insurance is “in case shit happens”. Sounds like an emergency fund, doesn’t it? You should be insured for your health, your car, and your home at the very least. Better safe than sorry.
  9. Invest in what you want to invest in: If you want to invest, don’t let someone else make decisions for you unless that’s what you want. If you have an idea of what you want to invest in, go for it. You’re young enough to be more adventurous in your investments.
  10. Children aren’t cheap but they don’t have to break the bank: So many people rant about how expensive kids are, calculating the costs for 18 years to be almost a quarter million dollars. If you are frugal and spend your money in a smart way, they won’t break the bank and you won’t be broke raising a child.
  11. Don’t get too comfortable with loans: Loans aren’t free money and you have to realize that with every loan comes an interest rate. Don’t get comfortable taking out numerous loans because you’ll have to pay them back and some.
  12. Retirement is closer than you think: You may be in your 20s and think you have years to think about retirement, but it’s closer than you think it is. If you start saving now, you’ll pat yourself on the back later. Even if it’s $20/month. Put it in an interest bearing account and watch your money grow for 30 years.
  13. Save for a goal instead of just splurging: When you have some extra pocket money, it may be burning your pocket to be spent. Instead, have a savings goal and once you meet it, then cash in and spend your money.
  14. The IRS is watching: If the IRS sends celebrities to jail for tax evasion, they will do the same to you. Do your taxes every year.
  15. You aren’t getting social security: That’s a monster within itself. Your grandparents may be getting it but don’t hold your breath. Look into 401(K)s and IRA accounts.
  16. Don’t forget your will: Unfortunately, we’re not immortal and we don’t know when we’re going to go. Think about who and what you want included in your will.
  17. Your finances will combine when you get married: Even if your spouse and yourself decide to keep your finances separate, you’ll still be tied if you share things like a home, a car, a business, or children.
  18. Divorces are expensive: Don’t get married just to get married. Divorces are expensive. Try to choose your partner wisely before jumping the broom.
  19. Renting is not throwing your money away: You may have heard that renting is throwing money away but that’s not the case. You’ll have a place to live, hopefully you remembered to get renter’s insurance, and you’re still paying for the same things you’d pay for in a bought house.
  20. You need a lot less than you think: We live in a culture where over consumption is expected. Not saying you need to be a minimalist, but it’s wise to think about living with the bare necessities.
What are some of your money lessons and advice to 20 somethings?

Briana Myricks is a 20 something freelance writer and blogger. Striving for financial independence as a newlywed, she blogs about young married life at 20 and Engaged.