Whether you’ve landed a job with a consistent paycheck or scored a raise that’s left some wiggle room in your bank account, count yourself lucky to have some extra cash on hand.
Now, the big question: What do you do with it?
Everyone’s situation is different, but many experts broadly agree on the first steps to take with extra cash. For more specifics, read up on the smartest things to do with your money in your 20s and 30s, and what to accomplish with your money before age 40.
A few notes before you read on: Your most immediate obligation is meeting your monthly bills, and only then is it time to think about what’s next. It’s just common sense — you can’t build wealth while digging yourself into debt.
And, in many cases, you can pursue multiple avenues with your money simultaneously, like starting to save for retirement and devoting extra money to paying high-interest debt. Or saving for retirement and building an emergency fund. (Really, saving for retirement goes well with anything, because starting early gives you a huge advantage no matter how little you can afford to put aside.)
The below chart should give you an idea of priorities, not a strict guide for what to do when — only a financial planner familiar with your situation can do that. In the meantime, however, scroll down to see where you should consider putting your money.