In Your 20s
Develop your financial intelligence. Your 20s are the time to get your act together, says Hunt. Figure out where your money’s going, come up with a plan for spending and saving it, and regularly monitor your execution of that plan.
Start an emergency fund. Begin putting aside money in a risk-free savings account that you’ll be able to easily access in case something happens, such as a serious illness or job loss. Hunt suggests setting a goal of six months of living expenses.
Open a retirement savings account. Join your company’s 401k plan, and invest at least to the match, which is typically 3% of your income. Hunt also suggests opening and contributing to a Roth IRA. She advises starting by setting aside 5% of your annual income, which would be split between both accounts, and steadily raising the percentage with each salary increase you get.