Make money part of your curriculum

So maybe you're not majoring in money. We can still help you better understand the basics of your own financial life.

Make the most of what you've got

Budgeting is one of the most essential pieces to start building a strong money foundation. Having your money go in the appropriate buckets can help you establish a solid financial foundation.



There are four common places our money goes: essentials, non-essentials, short-term and long-term savings.

The 50/15/5 rule helps you get started with creating a budget by helping to funnel where our money goes into different buckets.

Here's more you might like

Budgeting in 2017: 5 tips everyone should know

The 50/15/5 guide: A simple approach to budgeting

Saving and Spending Checkup

Use it to your advantage

Credit comes in two flavors: there's credit you use and there's credit you can build. The credit you use affects how you build credit—and the credit you build impacts so many other pieces of our money. Your credit history is one snapshot of your financial health. And it's an important one, since many places will check on your credit to determine how trustworthy you are with your money.



Your credit history is measured by your credit score—like a grade on a report card. And your credit score is made up of five slices that are shown here. The best way to manage your credit is to give yourself a regular credit check up.

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Building credit? What to know about credit cards

What is a credit score?

8 things you should always buy with a credit card

Credit Action Plan

Handle debt smartly

Every one of us will encounter debt sometime in our life. And yet even with something so common, it can feel overwhelming to manage. But getting a handle on your debt—and keeping it in check for the future.



When we think about handling debt, it's easy to just think about the debt burden. But when it comes to avoiding debt, there's one surprising and necessary ingredient: savings. The illustration above is suggested steps to consider that could help you manage your debt and build your savings. And of course, we have to pay attention to interest rates to know where to start first!

Here's more you might like

Ditch debt and start saving

7 finance tips for college students

What you need to know about managing your student loans

Download our Debt Action Plan here

Reach your money goals

Investing can seem like a complicated and scary concept. We hear news stories all the time about fluctuations in the market, losses, gains… But while the stock market is portrayed as an unpredictable place for risking it all, there are ways for you to minimize risk while helping to reach your goals over the long haul.



One key to investing is compounding. Compounding is when you earn money not just on the money you contribute, but also on the money you earn. It's returns on top of returns. Unlike a savings account, there's risk involved in investing your money. There's always a chance that the market could go down and you could lose a good portion of your investment.

Fidelity suggests that you have a blend of different types of investments that balances risk and reward.

Here's more you might like

Stocks and Bonds 101

Five basics about the stock market

Investing and risk

Download our Investing Action Plan here

Tackle retirement (even today!)

Retirement seems like a long ways off. And the amount of money that you'll need to retire comfortably can feel like a lot to start thinking about today. Well here's the good news: you actually don't need a lot of money to get started because retirement is one of the easiest ways to start investing.

This graph shows that starting to contribute to an IRA at age 25 vs. age 35, allows you to benefit from the power of compounding - allowing your savings to grow to more than double by the time you are ready to retire at age 70.


 

This hypothetical example assumes the following (1) $5,500 annual IRA contributions on January 1 of each year for the age ranges shown, (2) an annual rate of return of 7% and (3) no taxes on any earnings within the IRA. The ending values do not reflect taxes, fees or inflation. If they did, amounts would be lower. Earnings and pre-tax (deductible) contributions from Traditional IRAs are subject to taxes when withdrawn. Earnings distributed from Roth IRAs are income tax free provided certain requirements are met. IRA distributions before age 59 ½ may also be subject to a 10%penalty. Systematic investing does not ensure a profit and does not protect against loss in a declining market. This example is for illustrative purposes only and does not represent the performance of any security. Consider your current and anticipated investment horizon when making an investment decision, as the illustration may not reflect this. The assumed rate of return used in this example is not guaranteed. Investments that have potential for a 7% annual rate of return also come with risk of loss.

 

One key to investing is compounding. Compounding is when you earn money not just on the money you contribute, but also on the money you earn. It's returns on top of returns. Unlike a savings account, there's risk involved in investing your money. There's always a chance that the market could go down and you could lose a good portion of your investment.

Fidelity suggests that you have a blend of different types of investments that balances risk and reward.

Even if you only have a little to contribute to your retirement, you can still take small, simple steps today to make a big impact on your future.

 
  • Open an account: Make sure you have a place to start saving for retirement. Take advantage of your employer's retirement program.
  • Make it automatic: Set up automatic contributions and build up your retirement without even thinking about it!
  • Meet the match: Don't leave free money on the table! If your employer offers a match, make sure you're contributing enough to earn that match.
  • Bump up your contribution a little: Already saving? Start contributing a little more to retirement. Even just another 1% could go a long way.
 

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Split Decisions with Jean Chatzky: Roth IRA or Traditional IRA

Yes, you can save for retirement and pay your student loans

Investing basics: The 401(k) challenge

Start now

Ready to dig into the five money musts? Download our action plan for tips and exercises you can try out.

Five Money Musts Action Plan

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Sick of Paying ATM Fees? It's Payback Time.

Fidelity Cash Management Account Card

With the Fidelity Cash Management Account, we'll automatically reimburse your ATM fees*. Plus, you'll get the features of a traditional checking account:

  • Free mobile check deposit
  • No fees or minimum balances
  • Online bill pay

Learn More