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What I Wish I Had Known About Money When I Was Younger

By Scott McCord, AAMS®, BFA™

Financial literacy is key to achieving financial freedom and financial success. Unfortunately, financial literacy concepts are not taught in school or even in university, and healthy financial habits that promote financial well-being are rarely passed down from generation to generation.

This means that it is up to us as individuals to learn about personal finance and then to implement the best financial decisions in our life, starting with our first professional job after college and ending in retirement.

In our 20s, we are often making a lower salary, focused on paying down student loans, and perhaps we are starting a family and saving for a down payment on our first home. Because of these other pressing financial needs, a well-rounded wealth management plan often falls to the wayside.

But as you manage these other financial priorities, keep in mind that there are some healthy financial habits that you can put into practice when you are younger and they will pay off dividends when you are in retirement.

Spend Less, Save More

When you are young, it is easy to get caught up with buying the next best thing. And if you are not careful, this carefree behavior can evolve into spending habits that are based upon “keeping up with the Joneses” instead of careful financial planning.

Some people in their 30s come to me strapped with credit card debt they regrettably took on in their 20s. Obviously, it is frustrating to them that they are still paying off the debt they incurred when they were younger instead of investing in their future. It’s always good to implement good spending habits early in life, meaning spending your salary only on things that you can afford and not relying too heavily on credit cards.

Understand And Use Your Company’s Benefits

It is up to you to fully understand and take advantage of your company’s benefits, like your 401(k). If your company offers a good matching program, remember to contribute enough to receive the full benefits of the matching program.

When you’re young, it’s difficult to imagine your retirement. Maybe you have a growing family or are trying to make ends meet as you grow professionally. But when you miss out on your company’s match program, you are missing out on free money that will have a lifetime to grow and could have a positive impact on your retirement.

Create A Financial Plan And Adjust It Accordingly

Many people mistakenly see the creation of a financial plan as extraordinarily complex and complicated, but it doesn’t need to be. In fact, your financial plan when you are younger can be as simple as creating a budget, sticking to it, and investing in your retirement.

Many people also mistakenly see a financial plan as set in stone. However, once you establish a financial plan, you can and should review it frequently and adjust it to match your new financial situation or challenges. Financial plans and wealth management strategies should evolve with you and your family over time. Perhaps you are making a better salary and want to invest more toward your retirement, or maybe you want to invest in real estate. Your financial plan needs to be fluid in order to account for life changes.

We Can Help

It is extremely important to implement healthy financial habits when you are younger, but it is never too late to take control of your wealth management plan. We at Anthem Financial are here to help you reach your goals during your working years and during retirement. Schedule a free introductory meeting online or reach out to us at or 309-214-0152 with any questions.

About Scott

Scott McCord is founder and Investment Advisor Representative at Anthem Financial, providing values-based financial advice as a fiduciary. With over 20 years of experience in the financial industry, Scott focuses on building long-term relationships with his clients so he can understand their unique values and guide them through the ups and downs of their financial lives, keeping them focused on their short-term and long-term financial goals. Scott has a bachelor’s degree in business management and accounting and holds the Behavioral Financial Advisor™ (BFA™) and Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS®) certifications, Series 66 licenses, as well as life, health, and disability income insurance licenses. Scott is married to his intellectual and spiritual ally, Heather, and together they have two beautiful children, their daughter, Meyer, and their son, Grady. When Scott is not focusing on his clients and family, he volunteers his time on the Peoria Public Schools Foundation board, Impact Peoria board, and Rotary of Downtown Peoria board. To learn more about Scott, connect with him on LinkedIn.

Investment Advisor Representative of and advisory services are offered through Independent Wealth Network, Inc. a Registered Investment Advisor. Anthem Financial is not affiliated with Independent Wealth Network, Inc.

This newsletter contains general information that may not be suitable for everyone. The information contained herein should not be construed as personalized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. There is no guarantee that the views and opinions expressed in this newsletter will come to pass. Investing in the stock market involves gains and losses and may not be suitable for all investors. Information presented herein is subject to change without notice and should not be considered as a solicitation to buy or sell any security.

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