There's been a lot of talk in economic circles about how young people coming of age right now represent a lost generation.

We all know unemployment is too high, the government is overspending, and there seem to be fewer opportunities on the face of it.

Yet people of all different circumstances vary so much in how they do handling money. Even children within the same family can handle money completely differently. Likewise, people in the same profession, with the same general education, can be in entirely different situations with how they save.

Folks will often look at others around them and say, "Well, that person can save because…" You can always come up with a reason why somebody else can save but you can't.

Well, I want to turn that on its head. A couple of years ago I was in Joplin, MO., doing some shooting for my HLN show. I was traveling with Brianna, one of the producers on my show who I never really had a chance to talk with at length before.

During this particular trip, she and I had plenty of time to talk. Brianna was a 20something newlywed who has a lot of money in her 401(k). She wsa saving 33% of her pay in her 401(k) at work. (She saved something like 26% and then she picked up a company match to bring her up to 33%.)

In addition, she and her husband were saving the max they could in a Roth IRA.

In addition to that, they were also paying extra on the principal of their mortgage. Now, this is not a couple making a zillion bucks, but they are making a choice to figure out how to save before they spend.

It's so funny because Brianna had this antiquated cell phone that looked like somebody threw it in a dumpster after it got run over by a truck. She didn't want to make a call the other night because it wasn't past 9 p.m. when the call would be free!

Obviously, she has chose to live a very frugal life.

So often we end up in the position we're in because of how we handle our money day by day. My radio producer Joel is also in his 20s and he and his wife are the same way. They save before they spend.

The earlier you start with the habit of saving, the better off you will be over time. In my executive radio producer Christa's case, her boss at her first job out of college convinced her to save in a 401(k) when she was 22. So she developed the habit early.

Whatever your situation (unless, of course, you're unemployed) I want you to resolve that today is the day you start the process of saving. I want you to take control of your future. Buy your wants, but only after you satisfy your needs, and after you put money aside for the future.
 

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

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