1. Continue to live with your parents as a means to build an emergency fund and as well as a down payment for your first home.                You may be motivated to move out on your own once you graduate from high school, but think through the decision very carefully and weigh the pros/cons, considering the financial impact as well.  You can save ALOT of money quickly living with parents and while you are quite young.  This gives you a headstart. You must be thinking – why do i need to save up so early on?  The earlier you start saving, the sooner you can buy your first home and/or start investing. Remember, time is of essence when it comes to investing and also buying your home.
  2. Start contributing to your company 401k plan as soon as possible.                                                                                                                                           Not only should you start contributing to your company 401k as soon as you land your first job after college, you should also make sure you match the amount your employer is matching.  There are number of benefits – first and foremost, there are tax advantages of contributing to your 401k as you can write off the contributions.  Secondly, your employer is essentially giving you free money, so it’s essential that you are contributing at least the amount your employer is matching.  Lastly, the power of compounding – start contributing to 401k as soon as possible as the earlier you start the more advantage you can take from the compounding effect.
  3. Have a budget and track how much you are saving per month.                                                                                                                                                     This is easier said that done, but the concept here is to have a plan and control of your cash flow.  This does not mean you do not go out for drinks and/or dinner.  It just simply means that you keep a track of cash inflow vs. outflow.  You want to make sure you are saving 50% or more of your income.  It does not have to be 50% but set a goal and measure your self.
  4. Not only a budget is necessary,  having a quarterly view of your net worth is very beneficial.                                                                                        I found the tracking of net worth to be very intriguing and helpful.  The exercise allows you to understand the distribution of your assets vs. liabilities.   You want to make sure your net worth is growing over time, rather than diminishing.  Take a look at financial ratios to understand your financial health.  Use the opportunity of measuring your net worth to get goals related to income, debt, and as well as investments.  Calculating and having a handle of your net worth can also help understand how diversified your assets and liabilities are.
  5. Save.. Save.. Save..                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Not going to say much here, other than this is the key to financial fitness.  You must save a percentage of your income every month and constantly looks for ways to grow your monthly savings.  Be creative – you can increase your savings in many ways – 1) review your bills and renegotiate terms/contracts to lock in a lower rate, 2) generate additional source of income, and 3) cut out unnecessary/waste from your day-to-day.