The 6 Best Money Moves to Make in Your 20s

Whether youre just wrapping things up at college or arepushing forward with your career, youll need a smart money strategy to count on during some of your biggest life changes.

Your 20s are the perfect time to adopt good money habits that will help you steer clear of credit card debt, help you build a savings account and make financial decisions that give you a high return on your investment.

Behold, the six best money moves you can make in your 20s.

1. Pick Up a Savings Habit

Your income might change significantly as you transition into your first entry-level job or change jobs to further your career. Make sure your savings strategy remains stable no matter what life throws at you. Committing to saving a certain percentage of your income every month – no matter what that income may be – makes it easy to save money with minimal effort. You can even automate this so a set amount comes out of your checking account and deposits directly into your savings account every month.

2. Embrace Your Financial Responsibilities

It can be nerve-wracking to take care of money matters without family support, and making certain financial decisions might cause anxiety. Your 20s are a great time to work through your financial hang-ups and break or prevent any bad habits that will haunt you for the rest of your life. Instead of avoiding paying bills on time, neglecting bills altogether or being so frugal that you arent enjoying life anymore, look forward to enjoying your hard-earned dollars responsibly while building a healthy financial future.

3. Make Mindful Money Decisions

You dont have to wait for a financial disaster to open your eyes about where your money is going and what your spending priorities are. Take some time to review your monthly budget by creating a master list of expenses and your income sources. Be as accurate as possible when projecting expenses that fluctuate, such as groceries, entertainment costs and other lifestyle expenses. The goal is to have a baseline amount that you can label as your cost of living so you know whether you are living within or beyond your means. Make use of online tools like You Need a Budget for pointers on creating that all-important budget or use the PocketGuard budget app to monitor all of your purchases with a few screen taps.

4. Break Up With Credit Cards

Credit card debt can be one of your biggest sources of anxiety and becoming dependent on credit cards too often or for too long can put you at risk for a serious debt load in a few short years. Break the credit card habit in your 20s so you are only making purchases with money you have at any given time. While its tempting to open up new lines of credit to take advantage of special offers or defer the full cost of a purchase in hopes of paying off that balance in smaller chunks, you are simply feeding a bad habit. Resist temptation and make purchasing decisions solely based on money you have right here, right now.

5. Do Your Investing Homework

Unless youve been playing the stock market game for several years and have a track record of success, you dont want to throw available savings into a high-risk investment account in hopes of getting rich fast. Take some time to educate yourself on investment accounts and trading options so you can make informed decisions. Start with more conservative investments such as a 401(k) fund to get into the habit of saving for your future.

6. Identify Your List of Splurge-Worthy Purchases

Whether its a vacation, a new car or furniture for your new place, identify purchases that are out of your budget but worth working toward. Setting some clear savings goals can help you stay motivated to save and actually enjoy the process of working toward something you can splurge on; plus, you can truly budget for splurges with this approach. The key is to determine exactly what those items or experiences are, how badly you want them and what you are willing to do to save for them. This mindset allows you to stop daydreaming and start working for the things you want.

King’s Lynn churches launch new debt centre

Kings Lynn churches launch new debt centre

From this month people stuck in the debt trap can access free help thanks to three local churches partnering with Christians Against Poverty to open a debt counselling centre in Kings Lynn.

Kings Lynn Baptist Church, Church in the Woottons, and Kings Lynn Evangelical Church have partnered with charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP) to bring its award-winning service to the area.

New Debt Centre Manager Emily Hart said: The Church has always been about offering hope and were really pleased to be able to give a tried-and-tested route out of debt alongside other great free debt advice in the area like Citizens Advice.

There is a lot in the Bible about looking after the poorest. In our society, a lot of poverty is debt-related so our congregations have been working hard to open a CAP centre to help get people back on track.

Christians Against Poverty have reported that 96% of clients who worked with CAP to become debt free managed to remain debt free. CAP offers people a uniquely in-depth, caring service to people with spiralling personal debt regardless of their age, gender, faith or background. Every client is visited in their own home, the charity does all the negotiating with creditors and local volunteers offer support to each person face-to-face until the day they are debt free.

Statistics show that one in three callers seeking debt help are feeling suicidal but find huge relief through the non-judgemental service that treats every person as an individual.

Emily added: Typically, debts can build up when a relationship breaks down, or someone loses their job, or through bereavement so often when people are least able to cope with a financial headache. Were just so pleased to be able to partner with the financial expertise of CAPs head office in Bradford.

People with unmanageable debt seeking help should visit www.capuk.orgor call 0800 328 0006

Local churches who wish to invite Emily Hart to speak to their congregations about the service can contact Kings Lynn Baptist Church on 01553 763015 or email

Photo via FLICKR.

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Brixton churches launch service for people in debt

A new debt counselling service has been launched by a collaboration of local Brixton local churches aimed at helping people stuck in the debt trap.

‘Churches Together Brixton and Stockwell’ have partnered with charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP) to bring its award-winning service to the area.

Debt centre manager Jon Taylor said: “The Church has always been about offering hope and we’re really pleased to be able to give a tried-and-tested route out of debt alongside other great free debt advice available from the Brixton Advice centre.

“We’ve always had a passion to help the poorest in Brixton. This is why we launched the foodbank and why the same people have been working hard to open a CAP centre to help get people back on track.”

CAP offers an in-depth, caring service to people with spiralling personal debt regardless of their age, gender, faith or background. Every client is visited in their own home, the charity does all the negotiating with creditors and local volunteers offer support to each person face-to-face until the day they are debt free.

Statistics show that one in three callers seeking debt help are feeling suicidal but find huge relief through the non-judgemental service that treats every person as an individual.

Jon added: “Typically, debts can build up when a relationship breaks down, or someone loses their job, or through bereavement – so often when people are least able to cope with a financial headache. We’re just so pleased to be able to offer this life-changing service to people in Brixton”

The centre was launched in February with a celebration at the Brixon library, and is now open to receive clients.

Find out more or call 0800 328 0006

The 9 Simple Money Secrets That Transformed This Mom’s Life

Get involved

Michele doesnt enjoy dealing with money, so she leaves it to her husband. Hes amazing at it, while I just want to cover my eyes, she says. Blayney believes Micheles uncertain grasp of the familys situation adds to her anxiety: I think a lot of her worry is really that this is all so unknown. If she had a better sense of her finances, she might feel more secure. Blayney recommended that Michele meet weekly to discuss money with Michael. Even if he is the spreadsheet king, Michele might participate by, say, helping to set short-term budget goals and prioritizing them, or reviewing bills for accuracy.

Debt Help:Michele will be visiting the How to Repay Your Loans tab atStudentAid.ed.govto see if shes eligible for student loan relief. If you have a federal loan and have been paying it off while working full-time in public service or at a tax-exempt nonprofit, you may qualify.

Massachusetts Coalition For The Homeless Legislative Action Day 2016, The Great Hall, Massachusetts State House

Legislative Action Day 2016: Advocates demand better funding for low-income families and homelessness prevention programs.

Last Thursday morning March 3, around 200 advocates, providers, and homeless people gathered at the State House’s Great Hall for the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless’ Legislative Action Day 2016(…). The six hour event consisted of three hours of testimonies, legislative remarks, advice for lobbying legislators, and a call to declare the homelessness situation a State emergency, with the rest of the day reserved for attendants to meet with their representatives and senators.

The Day of Action aims to amend the upcoming FY2017 state budget to better fund low-income households, to expand the coverage of state aid programs, and to secure rights for the homeless.

One top priority was family homelessness, and recommendations included adjusting the language found within regulations of family emergency shelter services. Currently, the language states that families must spend 24 documented hours in an environment “unsuitable for human habitation” before qualifying for shelter. Advocates argue that families should receive better homelessness prevention measures and that no family should be denied shelter, no matter how recently they just lost their home. In FY2015, EA approved 494 families with children for services after spending one night in environments like a car, emergency room, or transit station. The first half of FY2016 saw another 273 families.

“We’re on track to having the highest number of homeless families since this policy was implemented in 2012,” said Kelly Turley of the Mass. Coalition for the Homeless. “We want to make sure the safety of children is not on the cutting room floor this year.” Governor Charlie Baker had previously tried to restrict access to EA services, but the legislature shot down his recommendations.

Rep. Marjorie Decker also noted that Gov. Baker plans to drastically reduce cash assistance grants benefits for families receiving SSI (Supplemental Security Income). While Rep. Decker says that much of the money saved from reducing those grants would be reinvested in those families by funding helpful services like transportation for childcare, she would’ve preferred Gov. Baker tried to secure the extra money first. “Can you promise me the day those families lose cash assistance that they wont endure greater suffering?” she asked. “No, they can’t promise that.”

Advocates also hope to expand access to the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition Program (RAFT) to allow more adults and adults without children apply for homelessness prevention resources, and increase the funding from $12.5 million to $18.5 million.

Another program to expand would be the Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children Program (EAEDC). As Spare Change News previously reported, the EAEDC has never seen an increase in funds since its establishment in the 1980s. Currently, the EAEDC only gives out $303.70 per month–and that’s lowered to $92.80 if you’re homeless). Advocates hope to expand this grant and remove the penalty for homelessness. The bill (HB529) would increase the grant to $428 per month. HB529 is currently in the House Ways and Means Committee.

Advocates also support the Homeless Bill of Rights (HB1129), which is now before the House Ways and Means Committee. The bill would protect their right to freely move about the city, ensure equal rights and treatment from the police and employers, and secure the right to medical care, among other rights. Other concerns, like more funding for homeless youth issues and various low-income aid programs, were explained.

Attendants also heard testimonies from individuals who struggled with homelessness or near homelessness, many of whom managed to secure housing thanks to these types of programs. Nikia Ramsey, for example, was pregnant when she was forced to leave her apartment due to a broken water pipe and moved in with her mom. HomeBASE managed to subsidize a new apartment for a few months, but it wasn’t enough to get her out of debt. Help from friends, families, and eventually securing extra aid managed to get her to a more comfortable and stable point.

“I don’t think I’d ever been so depressed or had so much anxiety,” she said. “I’m finally getting out of this predicament thanks to HomeBASE and the MRVP [Mass. Rental Voucher Program].”

Thomas Holland told the crowd that state funded halfway and three-quarter-way houses helped him beat his heroin addiction and get out of homelessness. While in recovery, he managed to land a job at a local restaurant, and formed a partnership there that eventually resulted in his own business in the North Shore. He’s even a father now. He owes it all to state funded treatment, he says. However, “my understanding is that it’s not quite as easy anymore… Ending homelessness is not just about getting housing, it’s about mental health services, it’s about addiction services, it’s about teaching us how to live.”

The Coalition also celebrated the work of the Advocacy Network to End Family Homeless, handing a commemorative plaque to its convener, Frank Austin.

Many politicians were also in attendance. Representative James O’Day, the official host for the day and a sponsor or co-sponsor for many of the bills discussed, thanked the crowd for their turnout. He also discussed the $2 million budget for homeless youth turnout, and told the crowd the next goal was “to put it to use” and fight for more funding down the road.

While advancements in helping homeless youth were celebrated, there was a consistent current of frustration for many speakers, and from some audience members. Monique Schersinger interrupted Senator Linda Doreen Forry’s speech to voice her issues with the system. She recently lost her housing after her husband died, and said Sen. Forry’s office ignored her call for assistance. Sen Forry promised to connect Schersinger with a lawyer, and agreed that “there is something wrong with this system.”

“We need to hold our agencies accountable,” said Sen. Forry.
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Fact Checking Debt Help Commercial

If you have more than $5000 in credit card debt, you have the right to settle debt. That statement made in a debt help commercial will get your attention.

It sure made all of us in the 2 Wants to Know office stop and say, What?

The debt help company bought ads from WFMY – but that doesnt mean were not going to look into their claims and question how they do business.

Were fact checking the commercial piece by piece. First – You have the right to settle that debt for a faction of what you owe.

Is there something in the constitution that says credit card companies are required to settle with you…required to let you pay less than that you racked up? Nope. But debt expert JaNet Adams says this right is more like an option.

The question is if people are actually going to do the settling with you. So everybody has the right to do it. Right? They also have the right to refuse that settlement, says JaNet.

Heres how Credit Associates says theyre going to help you: Were offering you free information on you can virtually eliminate your credit card debt with a monthly payment you can afford.

Hhhmmmm. That didnt say *how* theyre going to eliminate the debt. The spokesperson goes on to say, Dont declare bankruptcy. Dont consolidate.

Thats because with either of these options, youre still going to owe quite a bit of money to credit card companies.

But the ad never spells out what the solution is. So we turned to CreditAssociates website. Here they use two words interchangably -debt settlement and debt resolution.

With both of these options, the company works with your creditors to whittle down what you owe. For example, if youve racked up $65,000 in credit card bills, they might get it down to $20,000.

Sounds good? Think about this: Youre going to pay hefty fees for this service. Plus..

They are putting it into a third-party bank account – basically saving up your treasure chest to pay these people off. But in the meantime, a lot of times they will tell you to stop paying these creditors so that the creditors will be more apt to basically negotiate with them, says JaNet.

Only attorneys can offer debt resolution and its not clear that CreditAssociates uses attorneys. So we called the company for a little clarification. And we havent heard back.

Bottom line you can probably get rid of your debt without this company or any other. The AGs office has some great information on their website about steps you can take if you need help with debt .

And one last thing if you do settle, negotiate or file bankruptcy be prepared to pay taxes on the amount of your debt that gets wiped away. The government sees that as income.

In all transparency here WFMY has run these ads in the past. WFMY is not airing them right now.

Bulgaria Selling 2 Billion Euros of Bonds as Demand Cuts Yield

Bulgaria drew enough demand from debt investors to cut initial yields on its first benchmark-sized Eurobond offering in a year.

TheEuropean Union’s poorest country is selling 1.14 billion euros (1.27 billion) of seven-year notes at 185 basis points above the euro mid-swap rateand 850 million euros of 12-year securities at a spread of 235 basis points, according to a person with knowledge of the transaction who asked not to be identified because the details are private. That compares with initial guidance of about 205 basis points and 245 basis points, respectively.

The government in Sofia is raising funds to refinance debt, help cover a budget deficit and build a cash buffer before the central bank completes a stress test of the nation’s lenders,Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov told Capital newspaper last week. Bulgaria sold a record 3.1 billion euros of debt a year ago.

UK Economy: Financial growth on the way as Osborne told to “hold fire”

According to forecasters at the EY Item Club, the financial services sector could see a good level of growth in the coming years.

The analysts predict that mortgage lending, consumer credit and business borrowing will grow at a steady pace, as the country’s economy recovers from a series of heavy losses on the stock markets.

The level of demand for business loans will be boosted by an increase in business investment growth and lower borrowing costs. The analysts predict that the next five years will see net lending to businesses grow by an annual rate of 5%. This is a strong turnaround from the 6% per year decrease that was witnessed between 2009 and 2014.

The EY Item Club also predict that growth in consumer lending will start to steady out after last year’s surge; they are now forecasting 5.7% growth in 2016, followed by 4% annual growth in the three years to 2019. It is understood that much of the growth in 2015 was due to a huge increase in the purchase of vehicles, which led to an all-time record being set for the highest annual number of new car registrations.

Household incomes and house prices are also set to continue growing at a good pace, which is expected to contribute to a higher rate of mortgage lending, and whilst the UK’s total mortgage debt growth rate is still well below the heights it reached before the economic crash, it is predicted to grow by around 3.4% in 2016- the most growth seen since 2007.

The UK financial services managing partner at EY, Omar Ali, said:

“2015 was the first year for some time that the underlying economic fundamentals were good enough to support an across-the-board return to growth in borrowing by consumers, home buyers and firms.”

“If we can plot a course through the policy and politics, 2016 looks set to be a better good year.”

“However, the delay in any UK interest rate rise is causing some concern. Until rates rise, banks are going to struggle to increase the gap between lending and savings rates, and the prospect of higher returns for asset managers and insurers is pushed even further out.”

Osborne should hold fire on cuts

However, this positive outlook comes with a caveat; the EY Item Club has issued a warning to The Treasury that George Osborne should “hold fire” on his planned spending cuts, which he is set to announce in this week’s Budget.

The analysts have cautioned that cuts to government spending could have an adverse effect on the British economy, predicting that forecasts for UK growth could be cut to as low as 2% if the Chancellor goes ahead with his austerity measures.

Mr Osborne has stated that he wants to make cuts “equivalent to 50p in every £100” of government spending by 2020. In the March Budget, to be given later this week, the Chancellor is expected to outline the details of the government’s new Help to Save scheme. The scheme is aimed at providing low-paid workers with up to a £1,200 top-up to their savings over the next four years.

A senior adviser to the EY Item Club, Martin Beck, said:

You could argue the low-hanging fruit the easy cuts have already been made and cutting further is actually going to be pretty tricky.”

He went on to say that the government should be trying to boost the country’s economy so that it is better placed to deal with what Osborne himself has described as the “cocktail of threats” being presented by the global economic climate.

He added:

That’s what’s caused us to think maybe the chancellor should be careful here and not potentially make a weak economic situation weaker,”

The firm are currently predicting that the Chancellor will achieve his target of running a surplus by the end of this parliament. However, they predict that the surplus will only be around £4bn and not the £10.1bn that was forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility.

This forecast comes in spite of lower GDP growth, smaller estimated tax revenues, falling share prices and poor wage growth, the firm said.

This bad news will be mitigated by the prospect of lower government spending, due to the impact of lower gilt yields and inflation on debt servicing costs, it explained.

BCC cuts growth forecast

Last week saw the BCC (British Chamber of Commerce) lower its forecast for UK growth to 2.2% from 2.5%. The body, which represents 100,000 businesses in the UK, said that this came as a result of “global headwinds and uncertainty”.

The body’s acting director general, Dr Adam Marshall, said:

Obviously we’ve seen the turmoil on the financial markets in recent weeks, we’ve seen commodity prices and the price of oil, in particular, up and down.

You’ve got economies elsewhere like the eurozone with huge stimulus measures unveiled yesterday where there are questions about the future performance of those economies and, of course, you’ve got the kind of political uncertainty in place like the Middle East.”

The BCC also said that predicts that the services sector will continue to be the main driving force behind the British economy in the years to come.

The organisation recently found itself at the centre of an unwanted controversy due to comments made by its former director general, John Longworth.

Mr Longworth resigned from his post after stating that the UK’s economic future could be “brighter” if it were to leave the European Union. The comments were made in a speech that he gave at the party’s annual conference.

Dr Marshall insisted that Longworth had not been forced to resign and that the decision had been made mutually.

We have a long standing position of neutrality on the EU referendum debate, he said.

Of course, that was demanded of us by our owners the local Chambers of Commerce up and down the country and that’s because there are very real division in local business communities.