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It's never too early to think about retirement: 5 money tips young adults should know

Your early 20s are an exciting time, but they're also critical for establishing good money habits to help you save enough for retirement.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Being in your early 20s and just about to graduate from college is an exciting part of your life, but it's also a make-or-break time when it comes to developing healthy money habits

Lilias Folkes John, the financial consultant and author behind the money management blog Your Financial Stylist, said teaching children about money sets them up for success. 

"If you teach kids about money and how to use it wisely from a very young age, those habits will stick with them," John said.

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Here are five things young adults need to know about money according to John:

1. Your Social Security number is sacred

To protect yourself from identity theft, John says you should only give your Social Security number when it's absolutely necessary. 

2. Don’t just buy the brand, own the stock

The watch you’re striving to own, the shoes you just have to have ... learn about the companies behind the brands you like and invest in those companies.

3. Start investing as soon as possible

John says it doesn't take a lot of money to invest wisely. 

"The access is so easy,  you can start investing with $5 a week, or $5 a month," she said. "It's really what you can afford because now you can buy fractional shares. That was not an option a few years ago."

WCNC Charlotte is always asking "where's the money?" If you need help, reach out to WCNC Charlotte by emailing money@wcnc.com.

4. Save 20-30% of your paycheck

Start saving when you get your first full-time job. Your older self will thank you.

5. Have a plan to repay debt

John said you shouldn't borrow more money than you can realistically make your first year out of college. 

"If your four years of education costs $40,000, you need a job that's going to pay you at least $40,000 or more," John said. "That way, you will pay off your student loans in that 10-year window that they give you or less." 

Navigating your finances seems scary but you don't have to go it alone. John has a free Facebook group called the SuperSavers Club. Click here to learn more

Contact Carolyn Bruck at cbruck@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

WCNC Charlotte is committed to reporting on the issues facing the communities we serve. We tell the stories of people working to solve persistent social problems. We examine how problems can be solved or addressed to improve the quality of life and make a positive difference. WCNC Charlotte is seeking solutions for you. Send your tips or questions to newstips@wcnc.com.

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