8 Smart Money Moves To Do In Your 20s

August 14, 2020

smart-money-moves-20sToday I will be revealing the smart money moves to do in your 20s if you want to build wealth fast!


I have always viewed 20s as the perfect age to get rich. Not only are you more active and motivated to succeed, but you also have a ton of opportunities to earn more, save better and spend less than the others.


It all boils down to one important question:


Are you making the right money moves for your age?


Everyone, no matter what age you are right now, can get rich as long as you make the right financial decisions now. If you want to be ahead of your financial game then here are the smart money moves you should be making in your 20s.


Related reads:

How this 23 Year Old Started Her Online Negosyo During COVID Lockdown

How This 24-year Old Marino Started Investing in Stocks

How This Mompreneur Built Her Own Arts and Crafts Biz at 23

40 Financial Habits for Life You Really Need To Know




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1. Learn how to set goals

Goals are critical to financial success and learning how to set smart goals in life is one of the smart money moves you can do in your 20s. Craft a comprehensive financial goals which can act as a guide on how your finances will be the next days, months or years to come.


If you find setting goals hard then you might what to begin by asking the following questions;

  • How do you want your finances to be at the end of year?
  • What are your financial plans for the rest of the year?
  • Where do you see yourself 3-5 years from now?


You also want to make sure that you make each of your goal as S-M-A-R-T as possible. What does this mean?


Specific – for a goal to work it should be focused and specific. “To be rich” is never a goal but a dream or a wish instead.

Measurable – Make sure that you can easily measure whether you have hit your target. Include words that will help you realize whether you have achieved the goal already.

Attainable – is your goal doable? Make a list of activities to support your overall goal.

Relevant – constant review will help you identify whether your goals are still smart or you are just wasting your time and effort. Keep your actions as relevant as possible to what you really want to achieve in the future.

Time-bound – set a deadline for your goals so you can commit to them better.


Here’s a simple smart goal I think anyone could relate: To be 1 million richer in net worth by age 27.


Other sample goals to help you get started:

  • Track my everyday expenses in a Notebook starting August 15.
  • Earn extra P5000 a month by writing on the side
  • Invest 2500 pesos monthly in the next 10 years in an investment vehicle that can give me 9% annual return.


You can view my 2020 Personal and Financial Goals here for reference. Also did a Mid-Year Review already and have accomplished some for the first part of 2020! Hooray!


I have a free 3-Month Goal Setting Workbook provided in my Resource Library. To gain free access and download helpful templates, just fill out the form below:

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2. Earn extra income with the talent, hobby or skill you have

Make extra cash on the side by doing what you love! I am a living proof of the amazing benefits side hustling can do your finances.


Without the extra income I earned hosting weddings and events, it would be possible for my Papa to celebrate his 60th birthday with a party. I also used the same side hustle money to invest in a diva ring light for my YouTube videos, buy my first ever Longchamp bag and so many more.


How to make extra money fast?


Offer your talent, hobby or skill to others!


First, find out what you can offer. Are you good in dancing? Do you find yourself comfortable speaking in public? Have you ever written a book report or a simple blog post for others? Ask what area you can be considered as experienced/expert of.


I, for example, have been working as a freelance content writer on the side. I genuinely enjoy writing for the web. I love helping businesses promote their services through quality content materials. I earn from $20 to as much as $100 per article I write.


Aside from web writing I also host weddings and events on weekends. I’ve been doing this service since I was 17 and have even been awarded as the Best Wedding and Event Emcee in 2013. You can find out more about my life as emcee in


Next, build your portfolio. You want to gather as much credentials as you can have so people will hire you. I find starting a blog the best way to get noticed. You can your own blog and create helpful contents that will showcase what you do and how you do it.


Lastly, just start. Don’t wait for hints or signs to get started. You will never earn extra income if you don’t start today. Assess your service offering, build your portfolio and start making money on the side.


Here’s 21 of the best side hustles you can do with a full-time job.


3. Start saving your money

No matter how much you earn from your job or your side hustles, what would matter most in the end is the amount you can save.


Start saving money from day one. This is the ultimate money move ever! If you save today, even for as low as 500 pesos each payday, you can build a stronger financial foundation for the future.


Why saving money in your 20s work?

Image from LinkedIn


From the above table we can deduce the following:

  • Both have the same amount of money saved and invested.
  • Both saved and invested in the same total number of years.
  • Both even saved and invested in the yearly basis.


But at age 50 when they both checked their savings and investments, the one who saved early is 3 million richer.




Because of compound interest.


Compound interest is the addition of interest to the principal sum of an investment, interest on interest. This explains why the earlier you save and invest, the better. Since Mr. A invested at 20, even if he stopped at age 30 his money still still earns interest over interest.


How to save money in your 20s?


Follow the 50-20-30 Budget Rule on your finances. Divide your payout into three categories – Essentials, Financial Freedom and Lifestyle Fund.


Essentials will take 50% of your take home pay.

Financial Freedom is 20% and

Lifestyle Fund is 30%


This way you can automatically save 20% of your salary and invest it on the right vehicle. You can read more about it here: The 50-20-30 Budget Rule And How It’ll Save Your Finances. Don’t forget to sign up to my mailing list to get the complimentary 50-20-30 Budget Rule Excel Template:


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Another good way to ensure you have proper savings before hitting your 30s is joining challenges. I have enumerated a number of saving challenges in my post How To Save Money Each Month : A Definitive Guide For Pinoys you might want to check next.


Generally, to save money you only need to master two things:


#1 Financial Discipline

#2 Automation




4. Build These 3 Important Funds

I shared this idea years ago and I still find these funds as one of the smartest financial moves I’ve ever done.


Building these three funds of your new life will give you a head start in your financially. What are these three funds?


Emergency Fund

One of the best times to build an emergency fund is in your 20s. An emergency fund is a money cushion available in case of emergency such as sudden death in the family, job loss, natural calamity and the like. Your emergency fund is your first line of defense in case something goes out of the way. How much should you have in your emergency fund?


A good 3-6 months worth of your income or monthly expenses is the basic fund you need to save. The rest of your future savings should be invested instead. Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover suggest building a baby emergency fund first before creating a real emergency fund.


Financial Goal Fund

A financial goal fund is meant to help you get started in your bigger goals in life. If you need a capital to start an online shop or you want to get started investing in stocks, then this financial goal fund is the answer.


You can set this as low as Php 5000, which can already open a mutual fund account and invest in stocks. There are also businesses that only need Php 10000 start up capital of below like reselling perfumes, e-load station and printing shop.


Fun Fund

Fun Fund on the other hand is a dedicated amount you can use for leisure acts such as travel, funding your hobbies, recreation and other personal matters. This is the money you spend to satisfy your happiness and personal goals.


If you plan to go on a vacation to Palawan for example, you can slowly build a fun fund as your budget for the whole trip. This way you won’t get money from your emergency fund, from your financial goal fund and even to your actual allowance.


Related: The Ultimate Guide to Baguio 3Days|4Nights Adventure

5. Invest Now!

Invest your money. Period. The lack of experience and knowledge on how to start may be holding you but trust me, the best time to invest is NOW!


When I was 19 years old, I used to spend a lot of my time in National Bookstore. I will be in the business and investment section reading books on how to get rich.


That’s when I found out about investing in the stock market. From there I researched and read blog posts and similar success stories online that led me to my very first big financial decision – Investing in a mutual fund.


I have documented how I started investing in an equity mutual fund at 19 and even gave updates here and here.


There are a lot of platforms available to guide you and to teach you how to do it. Plus you don’t need that much money at all.


My suggestion is to try managed funds first and learn from it in 1-2 years’ time then start diversifying your investments with other vehicles after. Say, direct stock market.


Your 20s is the best time to start investing because you can still handle the risk and have enough time to recover.


Below are some investment vehicles you may want to try now:


Mutual Fund – In a mutual fund investment, money from various investors are pooled together to make up “baskets” of cash, bonds, stocks, or a combination of all. An expert fund manager will handle the buying and selling of securities. Your ownership is represented by the number of shares you hold in the fund you chose also known as NAVPS – Net Asset Value Per Share.


Read more at Mutual Fund Investing for Beginners


Unit Investment Trust Fund – or UITF works the same as a mutual fund. Funds from various clients with similar investment objectives are pooled together into one fund. The trustee (bank) will act as the fund manager and invests the pooled funds in various types of securities with the aim of maximizing returns.


Direct Stock Market – Investing directly in the stock market is the riskiest vehicle among others but one with the highest return. I started investing directly in stocks last March 2017 and it was so far rewarding. But, direct stock market is not for the faint hearted. Make sure you know what you are doing first.


A regular savings account or a piggy bank will not get you closer to your financial bucket list. You need to invest your money too and put it on work.


Related reads:

I’m Finally Investing in Stocks!

Stock Investing 101 | The Frequently Asked Questions

Reader Question: Where Should I Invest My Money?


6. Get Out of Debt or Not Be in Debt

Another important and smart money move in your financial life is to be and to stay debt-free. Do not attempt to get a credit card if you are not 100% ready and prepared for it.


If you choose to own a credit card I suggest you use it properly. Know the tips and tricks involved to manage your credit card bills and have a good credit score that you could use in the future.


If you accumulated debt from either personal, loans, credit card or debt of your parents then plan your way out of it. Below are the common ways to do so:


Negotiate. Instead na taguan mo yung pinagkaka-utangan mo, matuto ka makipag-negotiate. Tell them exactly what went to your finances kaya hindi ka nakapag-bayad agad. Once they’ve understood the situation you can ask an easier payment term. Prioritize the debts with the highest interest rate.


Increase your income. Follow my advice of getting a side hustle with your full-time job. Use the extra cash to pay your creditors.


Live below your means. Stay frugal and try to live below your means at all cost. There are plenty of way you can do this such as packing your own lunch to work, saying no to after-work dinners and gimmicks as well as limiting your unnecessary spending. It is better to be frugal now so you can pay your debts fast.


Remember, debt can give you a negative net worth. The interest earned every time you delay will cost you more money in the end. Make sure to spend your money wisely.


Related: How to Get Rid of Debt and Reclaim Your Finances

7. Plan for Your Retirement

This sounds crazy but,


As early as now have a definite retirement plan.


Being young gives you a huge advantage when it comes to good retirement years. When you are as close to your retirement age, building wealth and getting covered is harder.


Why save for retirement in your 20s?


Time is on your side.


I have explained this earlier so I won’t go on full details anymore but generally, saving a little early will have significantly higher returns than saving a lot later.


I, personally, have been working for my retirement days since I was 19. Hindi man kalakihan yung monthly investment ko, I still consistently add to my retirement fund a.k.a. mutual funds.


I also got a St. Peter Life Plan at 21 and treat it as an investment. The payment for a pre-need life plan will increases almost every year so getting it now is such a steal. My Mother used to pay 650/month on a St. Francis Life Plan with Money-back Guarantee almost five years ago. Today, St. Francis costs 850/month already! And as per my Mother it would be higher come September 2017, so I highly suggest getting one today.


I got asked by a reader before, “Should a 21 year old save up money or spend it on things that make him happy?”


My answer is still the same. You need to know and to realize what truly makes you happy. If it’s seeing yourself retiring a millionaire then save and invest as early as now. If it’s getting happily married and enjoying your dream house then save and invest as early as now. If it’s becoming worry-free in the moment of emergency then save and invest as early as now.


For me it’s better to save and invest today and enjoy the rest of my years secured.


Related reads:

How To Avail A St. Peter Life Plan Today

St. Peter Life Plan: Is it Worth the Investment?


8. Invest in yourself

One of the greatest money move you ought to do in your 20s is to invest in yourself. Improve your skills, learn something new and widen your experience through travel and adventures.


There’s no better investment one can do than investing in himself. Learn a new language, attend a conference or workshop in accordance to your field, travel, read new books that interest you and find a hobby that you’ll fall in love.


Being in your 20s is such an advantageous phase. You have the time and the energy to work your way up. Opportunities will surely open up to you and all you have to do is grab it. As young as you are, aspire to be the best version of yourself. 


This post might help.


Final Notes from SavingsPinay

I hope this post helps you. In summary if you are ready to become financially confident in your 20s then make sure you do these 8 smart moves:

Learn how to set goals

Earn extra income with the talent hobby of skill you have

Start saving money

Build these 3 Important Funds – Emergency, Financial Goal and Fun Funds

Invest Now!

Get out of debt or not be in debt

Invest in your self

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Clariza Glino

Izza of SavingsPinay helps Filipinos bridge the financial literacy gap one content at a time by providing insights and tips on budgeting, saving, investing, side hustle and growing your net worth. Aside from this blog she also writes at, a beauty and lifestyle blog for frugal Pinays and manages,, a wedding and event business since 2011. For inquiries, topic suggestions or future collaborations email her at

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