The Best Money Tips for 20-Somethings

Financial experts explain how to get ahead, regardless of what’s happening in the economy.

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Retirement. Saving for retirement – another long-term goal – can also be temporarily deferred. While workers should try to take advantage of matching employer contributions to 401(k) and similar plans, saving above and beyond the level covered by the match can be nearly impossible for stretched entry-level workers. Still, Weston says young people should get in the habit of saving from their first paycheck: "You have the power of time behind you now."

If following all that advice sounds daunting, consider Ulrich's view that today's youth may not be as financially well off as their parents' generation, but they're living much fuller lives. "Not materially, but in terms of access to information, education, careers," she says. "... We have to hearten ourselves with that."