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A 4-Step Financial Guide to Your 20s

Though large financial steps, like setting up a retirement fund or paying off your student debt, may seem a long way off, getting a head start can make all the difference to your financial success in the long run.

Take a look at these four tips to make the most of your 20s:

1. Plan your career path. It's OK if your first few jobs are just a means to pay the bills. However, by the time you're 30 you should ideally have more than just a job, you should have a career. Use your working experiences to figure out what kind of career you want and start planning how to get there.

2. Start building your savings. You may not have a lot of extra cash, but even putting away as little as $10 a month can add up. Ideally, you should have six months' worth of expenses in your savings account for emergencies. Starting now to build this financial protection can save you a lot of stress later on.

3. Get on track for paying off loans. It can be easy to put off loan payments or only pay the minimum due every month. However, the longer your debt remains, the more it accumulates and the more you end up paying in the long term. To cut down on these costs, start your payments as soon as possible and, when you are able, try to pay more than the minimum.

4. Open a retirement account. Though retirement seems a long way off, it is never too early to start saving. The tax advantages offered by an individual retirement account (IRA) can help you maximize your retirement savings. And starting early allows you to take advantage of the most powerful aspect of long-term, tax-deferred compounding: time.

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