Hector Madueno May 7, 2024 at 1:30 PM

It's Never Too Early to Take Control of Your Finances

As you start college or begin the early stages of your career, there's one aspect of adulthood that too often gets overlooked: your personal finances.

In today’s economic climate, it can be hard to save money and even harder to keep up the momentum of maintaining a solid budget, especially when considering more than 78% of Americans live from paycheck to paycheck.1

But it doesn’t have to be that way! Getting started on your financial goals early is easier than you think. You can make a world of difference for your financial future by following these tips from our financial education team and checking out our SAFE Financial Starter Kit.

Take Control of Your Money

Here are some ways you can feel empowered to take control of your finances:

  • Establish (good) credit. Good credit is essential to opening doors in your future. A good credit score impacts everything from renting an apartment to buying a car to owning a home (yes, it is possible!). Opening a starter or secured credit card can help you start building your credit successfully.
  • Budget in a way that works for you. Treating yourself is easy but cutting back can be hard. This is especially true when you are first starting out and more likely to live mostly from paycheck to paycheck. But keeping track of your monthly expenses, bills, and subscriptions can help empower you on your way to smarter money habits. Consider downloading budgeting apps like Nerdwallet or ROCKET Money, or using hands-on worksheets to track and review where your money is actually going each month.
  • Open an account that pays dividends. Traditional savings accounts are great for keeping your money safe. But if you want to watch it grow, consider opening a certificate or money market account that earns dividends while you sleep!
  • Set some goals, and identify your “why:” Having short and long-term goals can help you remain focused on saving, understanding the “why” behind your budget is crucial for . Short-term savings goals can be as simple as saving for a yearbook or an outfit for prom, whereas a long-term goal could be a down-payment for your first car.
  • Find a financial institution that aligns with your values. Don’t just settle for any bank or credit union. Chances are, you can find one that aligns with your values, whether that’s community involvement, philanthropy, sustainability, or a personalized experience dedicated to your financial success. Do some research to find the financial institution that’s right for you.
  • For information on the difference between banks and credit unions, take a look at our “Budget Cents Workbook: A Financial Starter Guide” for this and other helpful finance fundamentals.

SAFE’s Financial Starter Kit

Ready to make the first “money move” and dive into any of these tips? SAFE has created a Financial Starter Kit: a list of products and services that can get you started on your journey to financial freedom.

This kit includes savings, checking and credit card account options with your needs in mind, as well as personalized, timely financial education resources and webinars on essential banking topics for young adults.

To learn more about the kit and how these personalized products and resources can help you, check out our Teen Accounts page for the full list and take control of your finances.

Let's face it—your generation faces some unique economic challenges. From soaring student loan debt to a competitive job market and uncertain economic times, the road to financial stability can seem daunting. But SAFE is here to help you take your first steps toward building financial freedom!

Learn More

See the full kit here!


1 Batdorf, E. (2024, April 2). Living Paycheck To Paycheck Statistics 2024. Forbes Advisor. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/banking/living-paycheck-to-paycheck-statistics-2024/


Hector Madueno

SAFE Financial Wellness Manager