6 Ways to Invest Smarter in your 20s


What do you do with your refund money? If you’re anything like me, it’s gone pretty quick. So I went out to find what I should be doing to save my money in a better way. Here are the six best ideas from some of the smartest financial minds around.

Save more, sooner

“The way real wealth is built in the world is with discipline and effort. Yes, you might manage to get stock options in a hot startup company or inherit a load of money unexpectedly or enjoy some other windfall. But just saving more gives you the ultimate in investing power: Steady compounding over long periods of time.”

-Mitch Tuchman, Forbes


Don’t take too little investment risk

“Having come of age during a lost decade for stocks, some young adults are dubious of the markets. Nearly 20% of investors under 35 are unwilling to take any risk, a recent Investment Company Institute survey found.

The problem with an all-cash approach is that your portfolio won’t keep up with inflation. “Young investors have to balance market risk and inflation risk,” says Maria Bruno, senior investment analyst at Vanguard.

Instead, ease in. Putting 30% of your long-term savings in stocks is better than 0%. Eventually, that baby step may make you comfortable with a bigger stake.”

-Amanda Gengler, Money



Build an Emergency Fund

“Money is more expensive when you are desperate. An emergency fund will save you from the high costs of getting a personal loan, maxing out a credit card or financing medical fees in case of the unthinkable.

When your bank account is dry, yet you have an unavoidable expense, you have just three options: pay 5%, 10%, 20% or more to borrow from a lender, sacrifice your dignity and borrow from your parents or pay nothing and borrow from yourself via an emergency fund.

The best time to start your emergency fund is after you have already paid down your high interest debt and gotten your free money from your employer via retirement fund matching. But once you get that licked, create a separate high yield savings account specifically earmarked for emergencies only. Or better yet, create a CD ladder so you get a bigger return while maintaining liquidity.”

-Jack Busch


Control your spending

“The less you spend, the more you can save. That doesn’t mean you need to live like a pauper, but it does mean that you should get in the habit of spending less money than you bring in each month. This may mean making some changes to how your spend money, although not necessarily. There are plenty of painless ways to save money. But when you look at the advantages of spending less than you earn, you’ll see that the sacrifices are well worth your while.”

-Robert Berger, U.S. News



Girl in Money


Establish a budget

“Once you’re bringing home the bacon, you’ll have to figure out how to slice it up. Without a budget, you risk overspending on discretionary items and undersaving for important big-ticket purchases.

“The big thing is really to differentiate between your needs, your wants and your dreams,” says Lauren Locker, a financial planner in Little Falls, N.J., who also teaches a personal finance course to undergraduate students at William Paterson University. First, lay out all your daily expenses (such as commuting costs and food bills) and recurring monthly payments (rent, utilities, debts). When you know where all your money is going, you can more easily see how to cut costs. For example, when I first made a budget, I was stunned to learn how much I was spending on take-out food. Being aware of the cost allowed me to trim it by ordering less food, less often.

Next, factor in your short- and long-term savings goals, such as an emergency fund and retirement kitty. And if you ever expect to settle down and buy a house, you should probably start saving for the down payment as soon as possible.

A budgeting site such as Mint.com can be a big help if you want to digitize your budget.”


Quit the Bank of Mom and Dad

“You love your parents, and what better way to show them than to set them free of your financial responsibilities? “In your twenties, the main goal is becoming self-sufficient,” says Baehr. “Look to get off of your parents’ payroll and onto your own.”

Obviously, financial independence starts with a job. You also ought to cut the cord by getting your own insurance, car, cell-phone plan, home, everything. Slightly less obvious, you don’t want to resort to getting help from Mom and Dad even in a pinch—hence, the need for an emergency fund.”

-Stacey Rapacon, Kiplinger



If you want to read more, click the links to the author’s main article.


7 Watermelon Recipes You Should Be Making Right Now

If you haven’t had a chance to notice: watermelons are in stores again! They are definitely yummy enough to eat on their own, but you can take watermelon from a yummy summertime treat to an extraordinary culinary masterpiece in no time at all. Check out this list for some delicious inspiration…

1. Watermelon Salsa

watermelon salsa
What’s better than chips and fresh salsa? Chip and watermelon salsa, of course! Adding a little bit of juicy sweetness really livens up this spicy side. Get the recipe here!

2. Watermelon Lemonade Spritzer

watermelon lemonade

If you have never had watermelon in a spritzer, you are seriously missing out! It is so refreshing; it will make you regret not adding it to every summertime beverage you’ve ever made. Get the recipe here!

3. Easy Watermelon Sorbet

watermelon sorbet

No need for explanation here. It’s two ingredients and you don’t need an ice cream machine and it’s obviously delicious! Get the recipe here!

4. Watermelon Summer Salad

watermelon salad

Don’t be intimidated to try this combination, watermelon makes a regular greek-style salad into a super refreshing treat that’s easy enough to throw together for lunch or an impromptu summer picnic. Get the recipe here!

5. Fresh Watermelon Martini

watermelon martini

This should be the signature cocktail at every summertime get together! Just make sure you use seedless watermelon for this one  Get the recipe here!

6. Watermelon Feta Bites

watermelon bites

This super easy appetizer (with only three ingredients!) can be thrown together in a matter of minutes, but your guests are sure to rave about them!
Get the recipe here!

7. Strawberry and Watermelon Cake

watermelon strawberry cake

This one isn’t as easy to whip up in no time, but trust me, it’s so worth it! Fresh watermelon slices inside a dessert covered in strawberries, grapes, and pistachioes then drizzled with rose water?! I’m hungry just thinking about it… Get the recipe here!

Give Local, Give United Way of Missoula County

Give Local Missoula

Why I give, and you should too.

As a university student, I work two jobs, buy groceries maybe once a month and am always strapped for cash. An extra ten dollars in my pocket gets me through the next couple days. Unlike myself, maybe you are a recent graduate starting to make payments on your student’s loans, or you are welcoming a newborn into your home. Regardless of where our plans have taken us, Missoula’s young adults are continuing to work hard to provide for themselves and/or their family.

Today’s young adults born after 1980, known as Generation Y or the millennial generation, is the most educated generation in American history and, like the baby boomers, one of the largest. Yet we are facing one of the worst job markets, we are in debt, and so many of us are unemployed. Yet, unlike generations before us, we have been forced to rethink success as something more than just material prosperity.

We are starting to focus more on living life defined by a meaning – we are focused on making a difference, finding a purpose filled with value and impact. Often, we are contributing this longing of meaning in our life with the ability to provide and give to others. But how do we give, and where do we give? As young adults in search of meaning, it is important to give to organizations, charities and community programs that align with our similar beliefs and values. It is important to remember that the extra ten dollars in your pocket can go a lot further than you think.

Give Local Missoula.

Tuesday, May 6 marks the inaugural 24 hour online fundraising blast across Missoula to boost awareness for 90 local nonprofits. Give Local Missoula is a part of a national event called Give Local America that solicits community members to donate to their favorite cause during a time period in which their money will be matched by a local pool of sponsorship, meaning every gift will have double the impact. For young adults searching for an organization that is important to them, Give Local Missoula offers an online portal with each nonprofits mission, making it easier to find those that resonate with us.

This year’s goal is to raise $100,000 from combined online and in-person donations. The minimum donation is only ten dollars.

Give to United Way of Missoula County.

It is easy to become overwhelmed by the words: impact, engage, challenges, ability, connects and committed that are constantly being thrown at us by nonprofits. However, as young adults of Missoula (or beyond), it is important to be present in the affairs of our community, because as hard as it is to admit, one day we will have to drop the “young” in young adult, and lead our community, together, for the greater good. Give Local Missoula allows us to search and find nonprofits across Missoula whose mission aligns with that of our own. Take a moment to learn about the many nonprofits across Missoula that benefit and provide essential services and programs in our community.

As we spend time searching for nonprofits that our close to our hearts, we find ourselves searching for the building blocks of a meaningful life. United Way of Missoula County builds a better community for all, especially in the areas of education, income and health — what United Way calls the building blocks for a good life. A quality education that leads to a stable job, enough income to support a family through retirement, and good health.

Imagine that one charitable donation, just ten dollars, could touch thousands of lives. A single gift to United Way of Missoula County does just that.

It puts food on the tables of hungry families and homebound seniors; provides caring mentors and safe activities for kids after school; shelters women and children fleeing domestic violence; screens low-income women for breast and cervical cancer; takes care of children whose families can’t or won’t care for them; helps kids and families repair their shattered lives when a parent or sibling dies – and the list goes on.

The 34 carefully screened, regularly evaluated programs United Way supports at 21 nonprofit agencies in Missoula County – and another dozen in Ravalli County – change and save lives every day. Everyday these organizations and programs affect the lives of many in our own backyard, solving our community challenges. The success of our community depends on these services, the success of these services depend on funding from United Way, and the success of United Way of Missoula County depends on the support of our community.

Join the action that supports our community everyday by giving back to the beautiful town we call home. Everyone, young and old, have the power to change lives today and create a stronger tomorrow. Be a part of the change.

On Tuesday, May 6, 2014, anyone can give online at www.GiveLocalMissoula.org 

Top 10 Reasons Why CrossFit Is Fad-tastic

1. Crossfit isn’t an exercise, it’s a class.


2. A Kipping pullup is not a pullup.


3. Crossfit does an fantastic job of teaching proper form, and how not to use it.

Arnold Crossfit

4. Facebook is the only place your results matter.

FB Facebook

5.There is nothing worse than a Crossfit couple.

Crossfit Couple

6.Eating like a caveman, the “Paleo” diet.


7.It’s just a group of like-minded people with a common goal…..(a cult)


8. If you’re a guy, plan on getting out-lifted by a girl.

Chick Lifting

9. The more you hurt yourself, the better.


10. Every new CrossFitter thinks their an expert when they get online.

Funny Kid