It’s impossible to do everything right when you’re just starting out, especially when it comes to money. Even the most successful people have experienced setbacks and failures.
We asked several entrepreneurs and CEOs what financial advice they wish they could give to their 20-year-olds.
Here’s what they had to say.
“Pay yourself first. Take 10-15% of your salary and invest it in a passive investment portfolio before you spend anything else. And don’t try to outsmart the market. Unless If your name is Warren Buffett, chances are you’re a bad stock picker.”
Co-founder and CEO of a men’s health company Roman
“Amazon and Netflix allowed me to go to college, so I told myself to invest all the money I was comfortable losing in companies or technologies that I loved.”
“Move! Go where the jobs are – where new industries are emerging. When you’re ready to relocate for a job, you have leverage. I’ve seen peers who felt locked in a city for some reason and for many it limited their options and limited their earning potential.
“Moving can obviously be difficult for families and not everyone can do it, but if you can, it can be the best way to land the best jobs that pay the most.”
Subscription Service Co-Founder & CEO Birchbox
“I would like to know how money can accumulate and grow over time. I had no idea how to invest when I was younger.”
Co-founder and CEO of a storage solutions company To make room
“While long-term financial planning is extremely important, I find the best place to start is to find small ways to minimize day-to-day expenses.
“Limit Uber rides when necessary. Ridesharing makes it easier to call a car, but you’ll end up spending more than you think. And keep an eye on your latte habit. add up quickly, so if you can, get some caffeine in the office.”
Founder and CEO of healthcare billing platform Eligible
“It wasn’t until later in my twenties, living paycheck to paycheck working as a waitress in New York City, that I really realized how big an impact money could have on my career path. I realized that until I paid off my debt, necessity would continue to limit my current and future career options, so I buckled down and focused all my energy on saving until that I am finally free from my debts.
Co-founder and CEO of the ticketing platform SeatGeek
“Owning your own home exposes you to huge idiosyncratic risks and it’s best to avoid it, especially if you don’t plan to live in one place for long.”
“If you start a business, make sure you pay yourself. I made a huge mistake by not getting paid at my first company, going almost three years without a paycheck, and depleting all of my savings. It’s unsustainable, leads to bad decisions, and ultimately puts you in an incredibly precarious financial situation that can be avoided.
“All of this ‘don’t raise capital’ advice comes from people who haven’t started a business or have the luxury of not caring about money for a living. You can’t work for a company when you’re panicking about paying rent or buying groceries. You are not a superman, even if you feel like one.
CEO and president of a software company Wicker
“Credit card debt is just a ‘breaking glass’ emergency. And no, spring break in Jamaica is not an emergency.”
Co-founder and CEO of a retail company Co-publishing
“While it’s true that money invested in your twenties can pay huge dividends in your 60s, your twenties are also a time to take a chance. Investing in your own ideas is so much easier in your twenties than in midlife, when you are likely to have children, a mortgage and other expenses.
“So, Yes, invest and save money, but also take risks and spend your money and time on your own business ideas. No one achieves their dreams simply by maxing out their 401(k).”
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