11 finance tips you wish you could tell your younger self

If you could impart some of your current financial wisdom on your younger self, what would you say? Take more risks? Concentrate more on saving? Choose a less expensive education? All of us would do something differently. Perhaps one of these tips would have paved an easier financial path from then to now.

1. Start Contributing to Your 401K as Soon as You Can

When you landed your first job straight out of college, the last thing on your mind was retirement. But even a couple years’ delay can defer your retirement to later than expected, or force you to tighten the purse strings mid-career to make up the difference. You’re not alone. According to new research from Fidelity Investments in collaboration with the Stanford Center for Longevity, 36% of retirees wished they had saved more during their working years, and 33% wished they had started saving earlier — a statistic that isn’t exactly comforting in hindsight.

To make the most of your 401K right now, max out your employer-match contribution — don’t let that free cash go to waste — and negotiate to be vested sooner and/or receive a higher match opposed to $1K to $2k more annually. This is a strategy that will pay off more in the long run.

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