The money lessons you wish you’d learned in school

Personal Finance in Your 20s & 30s For Dummies helps Millennials and Zoomers like you make smart financial moves. It’s not as tough as it looks to reduce and file your taxes, pay off your student debt, buy a home, keep a budget to save and invest wisely, or start that side hustle, just to name a few. With a little bit of focus, you can start a clear path to financial freedom and avoid mistakes today. Your future self will thank you.

This edition is full of updates for the 2020s; wrap your mind around your investment opportunities, the realities of making a second income, higher ed options for career advancement, and lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re in need of financial guidance—and who isn’t?—this is the book you need.

  • Pay off loans, manage your credit, begin the home-buying journey, and more
  • Set realistic money goals so you can create a solid path for financial success
  • Make smart decisions to beef up your bank account and investment portfolio
  • Protect the money you have today and learn how to put your money to work for the future

Get ready to turn up the volume on your financial know-how and stop worrying about money!

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright
  4. Introduction
    1. About This Book
    2. Foolish Assumptions
    3. Icons Used in This Book
    4. Beyond the Book
    5. Where to Go from Here
  5. Part 1: Getting Started with Personal Finance
    1. Chapter 1: Your Financial Checkup
    2. Calculating Your Financial Worth
    3. Grasping the Importance of Your Savings Rate
    4. Understanding and Improving Your Credit Score
    5. Comprehending Your Investment Options
    6. Examining Insurance Coverage
    7. Identifying Common Financial Mistakes Young Adults Make
    8. Chapter 2: Budgeting, Goal Setting, and Valuing Saving
    9. Developing a Savings Mindset
    10. What It’s Worth: Valuing Savings over Time
    11. Budgeting and Boosting Your Savings
    12. Setting and Prioritizing Your Savings Goals
    13. Saving When You’re Strapped
    14. Chapter 3: Using Loans and Paying Down Debts
    15. Eyeing the Causes of Generational Debt
    16. Making the Most of Loans
    17. Dealing With Student-Loan Debt
    18. Paying Off Consumer Debt
    19. Getting Help for Extreme Debt
    20. Preventing Consumer Debt Relapses
    21. Chapter 4: Everything Credit: Scores and Reports
    22. A Primer on Credit Reports and Credit Scores
    23. Getting Your Hands on Your Credit Reports and Scores
    24. Scrutinizing Your Credit Reports to Improve Them
    25. Preventing Identity Theft
  6. Part 2: Saving and Earning More
    1. Chapter 5: Proven Ways to Spend Less and Save More
    2. Containing Housing Costs
    3. Cutting Your Taxes
    4. Managing Food and Restaurant Spending
    5. Trimming Transportation Expenses
    6. Finessing Fashion Finances
    7. Relaxing on a Budget
    8. Taming Technology Spending
    9. Keeping Down Insurance Costs
    10. Getting Affordable and Quality Professional Advice
    11. Handling Healthcare Expenses
    12. Chapter 6: Taxes: Reduce Them When You Can!
    13. Understanding Taxable Income
    14. Comparing Marginal Taxes
    15. Changes from the Tax Cut and Jobs Act Bill
    16. Reducing Taxes on Work Income
    17. Increasing Your Deductions
    18. Lowering Investment Income Taxes
    19. Enlisting Education Tax Breaks
    20. Preparing Your Tax Return and Minimizing Your Taxes
    21. Chapter 7: Housing: Comparing Renting and Buying
    22. The Ins and Outs of Renting
    23. Figuring the Costs of Owning and Making It Happen Financially
    24. Finding the Right Property
    25. Working with Real-Estate Agents
    26. Financing Your Home
    27. Putting Your Deal Together
    28. Chapter 8: Relationships and Money
    29. Handling Roommates
    30. Living-Together Contracts
    31. Getting Married
    32. Understanding Your Money Beliefs and Practices
    33. Getting a Grip on Procrastination Where Money Is Concerned
    34. Chapter 9: Making the Most of Your Career
    35. Getting Your Career Going
    36. Exploring Entrepreneurial Options
    37. Changing Jobs or Careers
    38. The Young and the Unemployed
  7. Part 3: Investing for Your Future Goals
    1. Chapter 10: Successful Investing Principles
    2. Examining Bonds and Other Lending Investments
    3. Exploring Stocks, Real Estate, and Small-Business Investments
    4. Considering Options, Cryptocurrencies, and Other Hot Vehicles
    5. Getting a Handle on Investment Risks
    6. Spreading Your Investment Risks
    7. Selecting an Investment Firm
    8. Evaluating Pundits and Experts
    9. Chapter 11: Making the Best Use of Bank Accounts
    10. Looking at Different Types of Banks
    11. Understanding Your Bank Account Options
    12. Banking Online
    13. Considering Your Alternatives
    14. Chapter 12: Portfolios for a Purpose
    15. Before You Begin Investing
    16. Investing Nonretirement Account Money
    17. Investing Retirement Account Money
    18. Investing for Education
    19. Chapter 13: Real-Estate Investing
    20. Understanding Real-Estate Investment Pros and Cons
    21. Evaluating Simpler Real-Estate Investments
    22. Assessing Residential Housing Investments
    23. Investing in Commercial Real Estate
    24. Shunning Sure-to-Lose Real-Estate Investments
    25. Researching Where and What to Buy
    26. Digging for a Good Deal
  8. Part 4: Insurance: Protect Yourself, Your Loved Ones, and Your Assets
    1. Chapter 14: Taking Care with Health Insurance
    2. Making Sure You’re Covered
    3. Finding Your Best Health Plan
    4. Shopping for Health Insurance
    5. Health Savings Accounts: Tax Reduction for Healthcare Costs
    6. Chapter 15: Safeguarding Your Income
    7. Protecting Your Income for You and Yours: Disability Insurance
    8. Protecting Your Income for Dependents: Life Insurance
    9. Caring for Your Loved Ones: “Peace of Mind” Insurance
    10. Chapter 16: Home, Auto, Renter’s, and Other Insurance Policies
    11. Protecting Your Home and Possessions: Homeowner’s and Renter’s Insurance
    12. Insuring Your Car
    13. Avoiding Policies That Cover Small Possible Losses
  9. Part 5: Your Information Diet
    1. Chapter 17: Using Media Resources
    2. Going Online: The Wild West of Advice and Predictions
    3. Getting Financial Perspectives and Advice from the Media
    4. Chapter 18: Professionals You Hire
    5. Seeing the Value of Professional Advice
    6. Considering Financial Advisors
    7. Taming Your Taxes with Help
    8. Working with Real-Estate Agents
    9. Using Online Resources to Find Service Providers
  10. Part 6: The Part of Tens
    1. Chapter 19: Ten Ways to Save on a Car
    2. Don’t Buy a Car in the First Place
    3. Pay Cash: Shun Leasing and Borrowing
    4. Consider Total Costs
    5. Compare New with Used
    6. Understand a Car’s Real Value Before Negotiating
    7. Take Care of Your Car
    8. Explore Your Servicing Options
    9. Drive Safely
    10. Take a Lean and Mean Insurance Policy
    11. Track Tax-Deductible Auto Expenses
    12. Chapter 20: Ten Things to Value More than Your Money
    13. Investing in Your Health
    14. Making and Keeping Friends
    15. Appreciating What You Have
    16. Minding Your Reputation
    17. Continuing Education
    18. Having Fun
    19. Putting Your Family First
    20. Knowing Your Neighbors
    21. Volunteering and Donating
    22. Caring for Kids
    23. Chapter 21: Nearly Ten Things to Know about Apps
    24. You May Well Get What You Paid for with “Free” Apps
    25. Conduct and Manage Financial Tasks
    26. Use Apps Only from Legitimate Companies with Lengthy Track Records
    27. Consider the Alternatives to an App
    28. Keep Focused on Your Spending
    29. Settle up with Friends But Beware Fees
    30. Save Money on Commonly Purchased Items
    31. Tap into the Latest Economic and Financial Data
    32. Invest with Confidence
  11. Index
  12. About the Author
  13. Advertisement Page
  14. Connect with Dummies
  15. End User License Agreement